1. PaulBC says

    I’m guessing PZ would like to. And I wish I could, but I have nothing cogent to say. (But I still think a catamander would be cool!)

    Tetrapods do show something about “reuse” as opposed to “optimizing” for fitness. Evolution figured out one trick and keeps doing new twists on it. Very little has really happened since the first eukaryotic capable of differentiating into a multicellular organism, and almost nothing at all has happened since going on this long 4-legged critter digression. So much for “endless forms most beautiful.”

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I bought Shubin’s “Some Assembly Required” last summer after a recommendation from another commenter. Excellent book, which reinforced the ideas i”d see in Scientific American and American Scientist over 40+ years. Genes aren’t the assembly computer program I could write to print scientific papers. While they gave the general instructions, environmental and just happenstance of mutations/timing during development contributed to the final result. This resulted in the great plasticity of multicellular organisms