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Published: 13 November 2008

344 Pages | 30 halftones, 50 line illus.

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195322828

Also Available As:


Bookseller Code (05)

Freaks of Nature

What Anomalies Tell Us About Development and Evolution

Mark S. Blumberg

  • Many of the most striking developmental anomalies have evolved into some of the most striking species characteristics (e.g., limbless humans, limbless snakes).
  • We take for granted how easily we can adjust to the anomalous body when we are allowed to "grow" into it.
  • Some of the most devastating anomalies--e.g. two-headedness-- can arise from a mutation or an environmental factor during development.
  • Anomalies provide a stark contrast to "intelligent design" and a note of caution to "evolutionary design." They bring us closer to the gears and mechanisms of development, and the options available to evolution.
  • Debates over whether Barack Obama is "black" recall similar discussions concerning the nature of sex. Nature often offers ambiguities, and it is the human inability to grasp ambiguity that leads us to force natural products into human categories. Anomalies won't go away so easily, as they are an integral part of nature.

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