Human Errors by Nathan H. Lents

Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken GenesHuman Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes by Nathan H. Lents
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This fascinating book lists and explains many of the human body’s flaws from structural to genetic to psychological. The author is a biologist with a detailed knowledge of how the body works – or doesn’t. For example, he explains why mammals’ retinas are installed backward and why humans are one of the very few animals that don’t make their own vitamin C and thus must eat fresh fruits and vegetables regularly to avoid scurvy. His predictions, or perhaps speculations, as to the future of human evolution are especially riveting and very plausible to me. I found his section on human brains a bit too pop-culturish. The fact the people’s memories are not accurate is old hat as proven many times. Yes, people gamble even knowing they’re going to lose and they smoke cigarettes even though they know that they taste terrible, make them sick, and will eventually give them cancer, but these are not errors of the brain, they are results of risk-taking mate-attracting behavior that has, or at least had, an evolutionary advantage. Aside from that one chapter, I thought the book was chock full of fun, good stuff.

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