27 May 2019

Concealed crayfish and The Hidden Half

Marmorkrebs rarely make appearances in pop culture. Based on this summary from the Financial Times, I want to read this.

Michael Blastland’s recent book, The Hidden Half, argues that much of the variation we see in the world around us is essentially mysterious. Mr Blastland’s opening example is the marmorkrebs, a kind of crayfish that reproduces parthenogenetically — that is, marmorkrebs lay eggs without mating and those eggs develop into clones of their mothers.

Place two clones into two identical fish tanks and feed them identical food. These genetically identical creatures raised in apparently identical environments produce genetically identical offspring who nevertheless vary dramatically in their size, form, lifespan, fecundity, and behaviour. Sometimes things turn out very differently for no reason that we can discern. We might as well call that reason “luck” as anything else.

There’s a preview on Good Reads of the first chapter, which includes most of the stuff on Marmorkrebs. I’d like to point out that this is similar in some ways to an older post here on the blog about similarity and variation.

Related posts

How Marmorkrebs can make the world a better place

External links

The Hidden Half (publisher’s site)

Neil Woodford shows it can be hard to tell luck from judgment

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