Human Errors, A Panorama of Our Glitches, From Pointless Bones to Broken Genes
Author Nathan H Lents
Human Errors is a nonfiction science book all about the mistakes of the human body and brain. It’s a book about anatomy, psychology, biological science, and evolutionary history.
Lents goes into detail about not just what is wrong with us but the likely evolutionary path that led to it. He explains the why, which is the best part about this book. He gives a lineage instead of just a list.
For instance: humans are the only animals on Earth that don’t produce their own vitamic C and require it through their diets. Human Errors goes into detail about how we developed a variety in our diets that is atypical of other mammals. This caused us to sacrifice certain processes in order to focus more on energy consuming ones such as cognitive thought.
Human sperm cells can’t turn left and therefore can take up to 3 days to travel what could be done in under an hour. Is this where Zoolander came up with his flaw? Maybe it’s just a very specific coincidence?
Unlike humans, migrating birds can see magnetic fields and can look directly into the sun without damaging their eyes. Our eyes are very weak compared to most of the animal kingdom. They’re essentially backwards and have to perform a lot of complicated wiring just to get a signal to the brain and back.
Human Errors is full of fun tidbits of information like this but it’s the whole scientific backing of explanation that helps you actually remember it. Remembering it will allow you to be a nerd at parties when you tell everyone fun facts whether they want to hear them or not.
This book could easily be longer but Lents kept it concise. Personally, I would’ve liked more of the physiological mistakes and fewer of the cognitive bias mistakes but that’s just because I’ve read other books that go into much more detail of the latter and started to get bored toward the end of this book.
An interesting note about the style of the book is that it’s one of the few I’ve seen that has opted to use female pronouns as the default instead of the traditional male ones. Just wanted to point out that it did not go unnoticed and I appreciate shaking up the patriarchy.
Overall this book was a nice science nonfiction book that actually taught me some new things and never once came off as condescending. It was refreshing to read a science book that knows its audience and teaches instead of dumbing down or swinging the other direction into dense technical jargon.
4/5 humans running on their poorly designed knees 🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️
For more human body nonfiction check out The Body Blog.
in order to keep me up to my ears in books consider using the following amazon affiliate link to purchase this product. it’s at no extra cost to you and would really help me out, thank you and happy reading!