Monkey Heart Attacks and Barnacle Penises: My take on the new book "Zoobiquity"

A new book is out, called Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, coauthored by cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and science writer Kathryn Bowers. They take a look at the surprising parallels between animal and human health. The Daily Beast asked me to review it, and you can read my piece here.

The facts that animals and humans share an evolutionary heritage, and that we can gain medical insights through a comparison between species, are not new. And Zoobiquity contains some misconceptions about how evolution works and how to analyze it. Nevertheless, I think the book well-worth reading. I learned a lot from it about things ranging from cancerous rhino horns to anorexic pigs.

Check out my review here. (You can also read a fairly long excerpt from the book in the New York Times here.)

2 thoughts on “Monkey Heart Attacks and Barnacle Penises: My take on the new book "Zoobiquity"

  1. Interesting point about large animals and long-lived animals being more vulnerable to cancer in theory. Whales are an extreme, but there are lots of other species we could examine. Giant tortoises and elephants, for example.

    Just googled around. Apparently the issue is called Peto’s paradox, and somebody has their own explanation, that some cancer cells evolve to attack the original tumor, if the organism is big enough to survive the initial tumor growth:

    http://icb.oxfordjournals.org/content/47/2/317.full

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