Jeff’s post yesterday gave me the perfect opportunity to showcase the star of my bizarre book collection.. It’s called “Evolution of Botany: More Fact Than Theory” written and published by Benjamin Zarr (author of several other books, including “Evolution: No One Can Break Down My Theory!”) Jeff, he’s written more books than you and I put together.
This book was “willed” to me by a dear colleague at Buffalo State College after he retired. When I first received it, I tried to read a chapter, but found it impossible to finish. Here’s an example of one of the numerous illustrations on a chapter about plant heredity:
The discussion around this illustration is too long for this blog. Plus, it hurts my brain. You might notice some interesting botanical terms, like “red paste” and “yellow dough” for instance. Here’s part of the text on these details: “I say red “dough” and red pastes always reproduce the color red because pollen always inherit a specific “melting” point. When the heat of the sun warms the starchy contents of a seed or the pastes of a seed coat red has the lowest melting point therefore it shows up before any other color. Just like in a specturm of light red appears first and purple last, all other colors come in between. When red has been eliminated it fades into pink, then into the color with the next higher melting point until white appears as the hardiest color of all.”
Not content to write just about plants (which evolved after animals, but that’s a whole different chapter), he ventures into the evolution of animals:
Words fail me. (But they don’t fail a reviewer for the Quarterly Review of Biology, which you can read here.)
Though this book is an extreme example, it fits in with Jeff’s post yesterday about critical thinking. (If you’re interested in the dissection of yet another book – The Sound of Music and Plants – click here for an online column of mine from 2003.)