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Monday, September 04, 2006

How to Become Extinct: an oldie but goodie

This new evo devo spoof site might be a good time to revisit the charming Will Cuppy (1884-1949), author of How to Become Extinct, a similar send-up of the ponderous truisms uttered on the history of life:
Some fishes become extinct, but Herrings go on forever. Herrings spawn at all times and places and nothing will induce them to change their ways. They have no fish control. Herrings congregate in schools, where they learn nothing at all. They move in vast numbers in May and October. Herrings subsist upon Copepods and Copepods subsist upon Diatoms and Diatoms just float around and reproduce. Young Herrings or Sperling or Whitebait are rather cute. They have serrated abdomens. The skull of the Common or Coney Island Herring is triangular, but he would be just the same anyway. (The nervous system of the Herring is fairly simple. When the Herring runs into something the stimulus is flashed to the forebrain, with or without results.)
- Will Cuppy, How to Become Extinct, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1984, p. 13. (1)

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