Why we should be wary of using animal behaviour in trying to explain our own

Adam Rutherford in New Statesman:

I have spent much of the last few days  destroying my own work. It turns out that obliterating it neatly is almost as difficult as making it. It’s publication week of my latest, The Book of Humans, and we’ve been running various competitions to draw people’s eyes in. I have great fondness for hiding secrets in my books. In one, I encoded a message in the letters of the genetic code – an email address that revealed the instructions for a treasure hunt. For The Book of Humans – surely conceived by me as an epic act of procrastination – I have dug out a hole in the middle of one copy, as if to hide a wad of cash, and inside this book-box I’ve stashed a small treasure, something mentioned in the book and of relevance to the story. So far, I’ve destroyed two practice copies with a multi-tool trying to carve and glue a neat rectangular box inside 250 pages of human evolution. I’ll push the button for this hunt to begin on Twitter this week. Let’s see how long it takes people to work out what’s in the box.

Schrödinger’s chat

I’m writing these words on a plane to London from Dublin, where a bunch of scientists were celebrating the 75th anniversary of one of the most influential series of lectures of the 20th century. You may have heard of the Nobel-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger from his thought experiment – no real animals were harmed – in which a cat in a sealed box was simultaneously dead and alive until observed, whereon it chose one of those quantum states. I forget why this is important, because as a mere biologist, I am primarily concerned with organisms that are either alive or dead, but never both.

More here.