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Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, From Pointless Bones to Broken Genes

Nathan Lents

3 Reviews

Rated 0

Anatomy, Popular science, Evolution, Human biology

An illuminating, entertaining tour of the physical imperfections, from faulty knees to junk DNA, that make us human - and a unique approach to telling our evolutionary history

We like to think of ourselves as highly evolved creatures. But if we are evolution's greatest creation, why are we so badly designed? We have retinas that face backward, the stump of a tail, and way too many bones in our wrists. We must find vitamins and nutrients in our diets that other animals simply make for themselves. Millions of us can't reproduce successfully without help from modern science. We have nerves that take bizarre paths, muscles that attach to nothing, and lymph nodes that do more harm than good. And that's just the beginning of the story.

As biologist Nathan H. Lents explains, our evolutionary history is a litany of mistakes, each more entertaining and enlightening than the last. As we will discover, by exploring human shortcomings, we can peer into our past, because each of our flaws tells a story about our species' evolutionary history.

A rollicking, deeply informative tour of our four-billion-year-long evolutionary saga, Human Errors both celebrates our imperfections - for our mutations are, in their own way, a testament to our species' greatness - and offers an unconventional accounting of the cost of our success.

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Praise for Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, From Pointless Bones to Broken Genes

  • An insightful and entertaining romp through the myriad ways in which the human body falls short of an engineering ideal - and the often surprising reasons why

  • Anyone who has aged without perfect grace can attest to the laundry list of imperfections so thoroughly and engagingly considered in Human Errors. This is the best book I've read on how poorly designed our bodies are. I learned something new on every page

  • In Human Errors, Nathan Lents explores our biological imperfections with style, wit and life-affirming insight. You'll finish it with new appreciation for those human failings that, in so many surprising ways, helped shape our remarkable species

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Nathan Lents

Nathan H. Lents is a professor of biology at John Jay College at The City University of New York. He is the author of NOT SO DIFFERENT and HUMAN ERRORS.

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