Thursday, March 19, 2015
It seemed Darwin had banished biological essences – yet evolution would fail without nature’s library of Platonic forms
''When it slithers through the grass, the legless glass lizard is indistinguishable from a snake. But harass it and it will perform a very un-snakelike feat. It will leave its tail behind – still wriggling – and slide away. That isn’t the only surprise the glass lizard has in store. A careful look also reveals inflexible jaws, movable eyelids, and ear openings. These are all traits that lizards display but snakes don’t. One way or another, this peculiar creature slithers between the cracks of our familiar categories...''
Andreas Wagner is a professor in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich in Switzerland,