Mutants – Book Review
“In 1982, a thirty-five-year-old Chinese man vas reported with a parasitic head embedded in the right side of his own head. The extra head had a small brain, two weak eyes, two eyebrows, a nose, twelve teeth, a tongue and lots of hair. When the main head pursed it’s lips, stuck out it tongue or blinked it’s eyelids, so did the parasitic head; when the main head ate, the parasite drooled”. ⁃ Armand Marie Leroi, Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body
Spontaneous sex change, cyclops and mermaid syndrome and conjoined twins. The tall and the very short. Albinism and rapid aging. No stone is left upturned when Armand Marie Leroi’s takes us on a journey though the biology of the bizarre – and beautiful.
This book “..is not only about the human body as we might wish it to be, but as it is – replete with variety and error”.
📝 “Mutation arise from errors made by the machinery that copies or repair DNA.
📝 “We are all mutants, but some of us are more mutant than others.”
📝 Clitoris = inverted penis
📝 ‘I do not want to be embarrassed by your black body at Daddy’s grave’ said her mother. Rita Hoefling was a white girl in the apartheid society of South Africa who suddenly turning black. At first she got subtle racist remarks and by the end of her transformation she was denied attending her own fathers funeral.. racism is dumb.
📝 Preformationists= They believed the egg contained the entire embryo (complete with limbs) and that embryo had itself it owns sperm or egg which in turn contained embryos ad infinitum.
📝 In conjoined twins the skew toward femininity is overwhelming: about 77 percent are girls and no one know why this is.
📝 Boys who are castrated before puberty grow up to be unusually tall.
📝 “Women of all cultures seem to prefer men who are on average five centimeters (about two inches) taller than themselves.”
This book gave me a deeper understanding of why we are so strict with what type of medicine and food pregnant women can take. The fetus is so sensitive to external influences and chemicals. Alcoholic and diabetic mothers have a two-hundred-fold increased risk of giving birth to cyclopic children.
The human body is amazing. This book feels like it celebration of the most haunting, weird and wonderful shapes the human body can take. It leaves me in awe.