First lines: Kaas & de evolutietheorie

In his book Kaas & de evolutietheorie Bas Haring explains Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to inquisitive people of 11 years and older. And that makes it an entertaining and accessible book that I would certainly recommend to people who want a quick primer on evolution.

Haring, who holds the Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Leiden University, takes fifty pages to explain the basics. Starting with three basic ingredients for evolution

  1. All animals and plants of the same species are a little bit different from each other;
  2. Animals and plants have a hard life;
  3. All children look like their parents.

he quickly arrives at the Theory of Evolution in a nutshell:

The variation between members of the same species, the hard competition in nature and heritability allow species to slowly change over time.

And then he gets to the fun part where he can explain what evolution means, by answering common and interesting questions like why can’t a dog and chicken have a child together? Can we become immortal and why do we die? Is homosexuality unnatural? Why are most animals horny? The answers to these questions are so obvious that you have to wonder why you haven’t though of them yourself: animals are horny because animals who have sex a lot tend to have more children than those that don’t. Evolution is simple like that.

And on that note, I think I’ve read enough about evolution for a while.

Bas Haring — Kaas & de evolutietheorie
Als je ooit bij een koraalrif hebt gesnorkeld, in het regenwoud hebt gewandeld of gewoon om je heen hebt gekeken in een tuincentrum of een dierentuin, dan weet je dat de natuur op een prachtige en ingenieuze manier in elkaar zit.