📚 Book Notes: A Short History of Nearly Everything

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Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Here are my notes from A Short History of Nearly Everything:

  1. In his final years, Cope developed one other interesting obsession. It became his earnest wish to be declared the type specimen for Homo sapiens — that is, to have his bones be the official set for the human race. Normally, the type specimen of a species is the first set of bones found, but since no first set of Homo sapiens bones exists, there was a vacancy, which Cope desired to fill. It was an odd and vain wish, but no-one could think of any grounds to oppose it. To that end, Cope willed his bones to the Wistar Institute, a learned society in Philadelphia endowed by the descendants of the seemingly inescapable Caspar Wistar. Unfortunately, after his bones were prepared and assembled, it was found that they showed signs of incipient syphilis, hardly a feature one would wish to preserve in the type specimen for one’s own race. So Cope’s petition and his bones were quietly shelved. There is still no type specimen for modern humans.

If you liked the above content, I’d definitely recommend reading the whole book. 💯

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