From blurry vision to crooked teeth, ACLs that tear at alarming rates and spines that seem to spend a lifetime falling apart, it's a curious thing that human beings have beaten the odds as a species. After all, we're the only survivors on our branch of the tree of life. The flaws in our makeup raise more than a few questions, and this detailed foray into the many twists and turns of our ancestral past includes no shortage of curiosity and humour to find the answers. Why is it that human mothers have such a life-endangering experience giving birth? Why are there entire medical specialities for teeth and feet? And why is it that human babies can't even hold their heads up, but horses are trotting around minutes after they're born? In this funny, wide-ranging and often surprising book, biologist Alex Bezzerides tells us just where we inherited our adaptable, achy, brilliant bodies in the process of evolution.
Alex Bezzerides is a professor of biology at Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho, where he teaches a wide range of biology classes, from human anatomy and physiology to entomology. He has a bachelor's degree in biology and a PhD in neurobiology and behaviour. Alex lives in Idaho with his wife, Julie, and their daughter.
"Alex Bezzerides's subject is one that should be of inherent interest to all humans: why evolution designed our bodies in such a seemingly eccentric manner, causing us to suffer from all manner of aches and pains. He provides the answers with gentle humor and easy-to-understand explanations. Along the way he also shares plenty of curious facts that, if you're like me, you'll feel compelled to share with family and friends."
– Alex Boese, author of Elephants on Acid
"An exhilarating clamber through some of the remoter branches of the human family tree. Alex Bezzerides reminds us that our great-grand-ancestors included fish and quadrupeds as well as the tree-climbing apes that more readily spring to mind. Evolution Gone Wrong is the fascinating tale of our imperfections: how millions of years of evolution created a species more intelligent than any other, but one blighted by faulty eyesight, back pain and an unfortunate propensity for choking on its food."
– Thomas Morris, The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth
"You'll laugh, you'll learn, and you'll ache all over while reading this book."
– Nick Caruso, coauthor of Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence
"From opposable thumbs to flat feet to the pangs of childbirth, Bezzerides takes us on an unforgettable journey through this twisted miracle of evolution we call 'our body.'"
– Spike Carlsen, author of A Walk Around the Block
"A fantastic, informative book [...] I recommend Evolution Gone Wrong highly to anyone wishing to grasp the mix of biological and cultural forces at work on our anatomy today."
"Entertaining [...] A timely reminder that we, as a species, may be outgrowing our evolutionary history and the biology we are constructed from."
– The Wall Street Journal
"Alex Bezzerides [...] is fascinated with the imperfect system that is the human body, and he explores and explains it adroitly in his fascinating, funny new book."