"I think I’m kind of over heads."
"You’re ‘over’ heads?"
"Yeah. Just sort of bored with them."
"Evolution, you can’t be bored with heads."
"They’re one of the best things you’ve got going for you. Complex animals need heads.”
"Are you sure, though? Like, what if I just skip it on this pheasant?”
"You can’t just skip it. It’s the head.”
"But what if—"
"It needs a head."
"Oh, you’re no fun."
"Please just give it a head."
"Ugh, fine, but I’m making it tiny and weird-looking."
Source: Flickr / richard2formosa / licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Important news, internet:
Book release day is here!
In addition to the fine online retailers linked below, you can now find WTF, Evolution?! A Theory of Unintelligible Design at a brick-and-mortar bookselling establishment near you.
I’m not much of a salesperson, but here are seven reasons I can think of that you should probably get a copy:
1. More than half of the material in the book is entirely new. It’s never been on this site before.
2. It goes further than the blog. In addition to the photos and captions you’ve come to expect, the introductory pages, sidebars, family trees and an exclusive interview provide deeper insight into evolution and the weird-ass ways it works.
3. It’s “funny,” “educational,” and “actually not as annoying as you might think,” according to the very first Amazon review.
4. The photos are amazing. Working with a publisher gave me the opportunity to license some of the best nature photography in the world. More than 100 species appear here in their full-blown, fearsome, strange-nosed and slimy glory.
5. My grandmother, who was skeptical about the veiled profanity in the title, is reportedly “delighted” by the contents.
6. It’s scientifically accurate.* I sourced every fact in the book to scientific literature or reference texts, and experts in the appropriate fields read over everything to confirm it. There are a million unverifiable weird-animal “facts” out there; these ones check out.
7. The phrase “voluminous rectum” is in it somewhere. I won’t tell you where.
Barnes and Noble
Or head to your local bookstore. And, as always, thanks to you, internet audience, for making this all possible in the first place. You are the best and weirdest.
*Except for the part where evolution can talk.
Photo: James Waters
“I think I’m making progress on this whole ‘flight’ thing.”
“Yeah! It seems like if I sort of splay the bones out over here, and then I stretch the skin over, I can make a membrane that the Sharovipteryx can use to glide from tree to tree.”
“Hmm. That sounds like the right general idea, evolution, but…”
“I mean, I’ll probably refine some details over time, like maybe I’ll let them flap up and down a bit or add some feathers to catch more air. But I think this might be the big break.”
“I don’t know, evolution. I’m not really sure you’ve got it yet.”
“Just imagine! If this works out, then in a few hundred million years, there’ll be leg-flappers all over the place.”
“‘Spread your legs and fly,’ they’ll say.”
“Maybe just sleep on it, okay?”
Source: Wikimedia Commons / Nobu Tamura / licensed under CC BY 3.0