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Persistent evolution

I finally managed to finish "The life of a leaf" by Steven Vogel. An amazing book for anyone persistent enough to go through it. This book does answer some of our questions about the natural world and opens even more puzzles to be solved.

I love the summary in Chapter 14:

Evolution wanders, misses chances, reinvents wheels, has troublemaking radical alterations in its designs. Until modern humans came along, with our large-scale, culturally-transmitted technology, evolution had the game to itself, the ultimate winning situation. It may be a lousy scheme, but it does have persistence. We confidently expect it to go on long after we've blundered into some black hole of extinction - most likely of our own making.

A more defensible message emerges from the sheer creativity of the evolutionary process, however constrained it may be. It has generated a system that's extravagantly diverse from just five nucleic acids, twenty odd amino acids, a few basic polymers, one primary photosynthetic chemical, no metal, and a lot of other limits to its basic components.

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