13 July 2011

"Full House" by Stephen Jay Gould

Gould is a notable researcher in the fields of paleontology and natural history. He also has really good analogies to  describe his arguments. In Full House, Gould discusses how the human form is not evolution's ultimate goal, but that the goal of evolution is to try every possible variation at least once. He notes that if we track evolving life we see that once a new species is created, it tries a myriad of variations and then stabilizes on an average. Though his arguments sometime get repetitive, he is thorough and sure to cover as many counter arguments that he can think of.

Interesting tidbit: Bacteria, by quantity and and variations, is by far the most dominate life form on earth. Also, the horse (which is often epitomized as the finest example of evolution because of its nearly straight line succession) is actually a bad example of evolution because where the history of the horse resembles a branch most other species look like a bush (think of rodents: where there is one kind of horse, there are dozens of kinds of rodents).

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