Aug 08
It’s not exactly light summer reading, but I’m very glad that I selected “The Red Queen” by Matt Ridley. It goes well with the online genetics course that I’ve been working through.┬áHere’s a great excerpt from Chapter 6 [UPDATE – 090830: which, incidentally, servies as a great summary of the book]:
… Evolution is more about reproduction of the fittest than survival of the fittest; every creature on earth is the product of a series of historical battles between parasites and hosts, between genes and other genes, between members of the same species, between members of one gender in competition for members of the other gender. Those battles include pyschological ones, to manipulate and exploit other members of the species; they are never won, for success in one generation only ensures that the foes of the next generation are fitter to fight harder. Life is a Sisyphean race, run ever faster towards a finish line that is merely the start of the next race.
Here’s an interview with Matt Ridley that gives a sneak peak into “The Red Queen” and few of his other books:

UPDATE – 090830: Finished the book today. To Ridley, the human brain as an ornament, much like the peacock’s plummage. He theorizes, with support from others, including Geoffrey Miller, that the human brains ‘frenzied’ growth of the neocortex is the result of sexual selection, favoring the use of the brain as an instrument of attracting, manipulating, suspecting, etc. – not just as an instrument for walking, talking, tool making or hunting.

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