|Freaks of Nature
|What Anomalies Tell us About Development and Evolution|
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the book jacket:
No Bones About It interview at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, September 17, 2009.
Point of Inquiry with D. J. Grothe, October 6, 2009
Radio Health Journal, May 17, 2009 (audio; interview begins halfway through program)
The Exchange with Ben Kieffer (KSUI, Iowa Public Radio), December 12, 2008 (audio: 1 h)
Word of Mouth (New Hampshire Public Radio), December 4, 2008 (audio: 12 min)
Live from Prairie Lights, December 2, 2008 (video: 5 min)
Think (KERA, Public Radio for North Texas), December 1, 2008 (audio: 1 h)
Praise for Freaks of Nature:
"Mark Blumberg is a freak of literature
-- one of the very few scientist writers (think Stephen Jay Gould or
Oliver Sacks) who can sweep us along as they try to figure out how
the exceptions in the species can prove the rule of who we all are.
In Freaks of Nature,
the specimens are certainly riveting, but it's also Blumberg's lucid,
lyrical, profound insights into what it means to be human that will stay
with the reader."
"...a highly readable, entertaining, and informative introduction to the science and culture connected with freaks and monsters."
Manfred Laubichler, Science
"[A]n...elegant effort.... All writers of popular natural history books will these days be compared to the late Stephen Jay Gould...but with Freaks of Nature a comparison seems apt."
Jennie Erin Smith, Times Literary Supplement
"A stimulating read."
"A fascinating pop exegesis of evo devo."
of the factors that go into [these] deformations are gripping."
"With well-picked examples, Blumberg constructs his at first peculiar, but ultimately profound, argument.... Startlingly convincing...."
Elizabeth Quill, Science News
"An interesting and insightful evolution-based examination of a curious topic."
Benjamin Radford, Skeptical Inquirer
"Engrossing and interesting."
John Wilkins, Evolving Thoughts
"Eminent neuroscientist Blumberg
offers a strangely poetic analysis of new theories of evolution....
If you're interested in the science behind the macabre, this book will
thrill you. It's also a must-read for anyone who wants to know more
about a cutting-edge area of evolutionary theory."
"Blumberg gives a fascinating and well-reasoned analysis for the plasticity and intergration of mind and behavior."
Scott Gilbert, The Journal of Clinical Investigation
people come to the Mutter Museum 'to see the freaks' I cringe inwardly,
smile outwardly and generally say nothing at all. I have found over
the years that the inhabitants of this remarkable place say far more
than I ever could. Whatever the reason for visiting the museum --
fascination, repulsion, even derision -- people tend to leave more
informed and perhaps even more aware than when they arrive. And that
is exactly how I felt after reading this book."
"Blumberg takes us on a tour of real-life
teratology, and how understanding abnormalities is casting new light
on the relationship between the genetic and non-genetic forces that
shape us all."
"By presenting a parade of animal ‘freaks’ — mutants, developmental anomalies and weird species — Blumberg imparts lessons that, although familiar to biologists, will be valuable to non-specialists. He emphasizes that the complex process of development can be unravelled by understanding how such anomalies are produced.... Blumberg illustrates his points with clear and intriguing examples.... Blumberg’s ambitions transcend storytelling: he aims to show that developmental biology has made real contributions to evolutionary theory.
Jerry Coyne, Nature
"I really liked the book, very readable science, and full of interesting facts and eye-openers.... Highly recommended."
"Blumberg is a developmental psychobiologist, and thus advocates for a more supple understanding of the interplay between development, behavior, and evolution than has usually been accepted. He eloquently defends the view that "development is the story of adaptation within one lifetime," and that thinking seriously about anomalies helps us see "how much adaptability there is in the developing organism."
Jason B. Jones, Boldtype
"Mark Blumberg's beautifully written book introduces some major problems in both developmental and evolutionary biology."
Sir Patrick Bateson, Emeritus Professor of Ethology, University of Cambridge
"This book offers a unique perspective, challenging our view of science, evolution, and social archetypes by examining the nature of malformations. It would be a worthwhile addition to the library of students and scholars alike."
Doody's Health Sciences Review, a 4-star review
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