Dr. Schwab’s eon-spanning look at the eye

Dr. Ivan Schwab has done at least two spectacular things. First he accepted an Ig Nobel Prize, in 2006, for explaining why woodpeckers don’t get headaches. Now he has produced a momentous book called Evolution’s Witness: How Eyes Evolved.

Hank Campbell of Science 2.0 interviewed him:

Eye Evolution Gets Its War And Peace

We’ve been gifted with some terrific books on general evolution by Neil Shubin and Sean Carroll and Science 2.0 guest columnist Jerry Coyne but I couldn’t remember seeing a book that dealt with the evolution of the eye…. Enter Dr. Ivan Schwab, M.D., ophthalmologist and professor at the University of California Davis and his new book Evolution’s Witness: How Eyes Evolved from Oxford University Press. Schwab sets out to decipher the complex amalgam that goes into this organ, and assuage the concerns of those who are skeptical because soft tissue like an eye won’t have a complete fossil record….

“Biology is also my hobby and I go out into the field on weekends and I look around. That probably stems from growing up in West Virginia in a rural community where there weren’t a lot of other things to do. So if I saw an eagle I would wonder how come that eagle had such good eyesight….

“A book like this is for people who have that same curiosity but won’t have necessarily have biology or ophthalmology expertise, they understand science the way a Science 2.0 or a Scientific American reader does but they are not experts.”

BONUS: Ivan Schwab’s blog