WEIT at the USNM

by Greg Mayer

In an earlier post, I’d noted that I was unable to see the new Hall of Human Origins exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History when it opened in March. As promised at the time, I was able to see it this summer, and will provide a review here soon. But in addition to seeing the human evolution exhibit, I also stopped at the gift shop, and am happy to report that WEIT is not only for sale, it is a Curators’ Choice!

WEIT, a Curators' Choice at the USNM, August 2010.

The USNM (as the natural history museum is known to biologists) is one of the nation’s largest non-university research institutions specializing in evolutionary biology, and the curators are the professional scientific research staff of the museum, so it’s an honor to be singled out in this way (even though Neil Shubin’s book is up there too!).


  1. Posted September 27, 2010 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Both books deserve all the recognition they can get.

  2. Dawn Oz
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    I would be interested to buy this book in Australia – Kindle for the iPad and its not available. This happens often, where publishers don’t organise the ‘rights’ and we are left bereft in both eBooks and audio. Just a whinge whilst I can.

    • Posted September 27, 2010 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      I’ve seen WEIT at bookstores in Australia, even got my copy that way (though these days I get most books online because it’s cheaper to have them delivered from the UK than it is to buy locally)

      • Dawn Oz
        Posted September 27, 2010 at 2:09 am | Permalink

        These days I’m buying eBooks – that way I get to read them. I have a house full of books.

  3. Posted September 27, 2010 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    His book changed my life. Happy to see it up there.

  4. Posted September 27, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Both books sit happily together on my bookshelves.

  5. Wayne Robinson
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    Dawn Oz,

    Send me your email address to waynerobinson@iinet.net.au and I’ll tell you how you can buy ebooks from America.

  6. Posted September 27, 2010 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    No shame in being on the same shelf as “Your inner fish” at all.

  7. andrew
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love the smithsonian!

  8. BeamStalk
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I got lucky in March. My girlfriend and I didn’t even realize the exhibit was opening the day we were there. We were some of the first of the public to see it and I highly recommend everyone to view the Human Origins exhibit.

  9. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Not as many copies remaining of Your Inner Fish – it must be selling well.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted September 27, 2010 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      There was another stack of copies of WEIT on the shelves further back in the store from the entrance, so you can’t tell quantities by the Curators’ Choice shelf alone. Or perhaps the shop didn’t stock as many Inner Fish because it doesn’t sell as well? 😉 Jerry and Neil are of course U. of Chicago colleagues, MCZ alumni, bestselling authors, and friendly rivals; both books are well worth reading, and I have used both books in undergraduate courses (Jerry’s in evolutionary biology– I think I may have been the first to adopt it; and Neil’s in vertebrate zoology).


  10. Insightful Ape
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    OK, but I wasn’t too happy about my visit to this museum. Disturbingly, some of the concepts presented seemed to be anachronistic and/or inaccurate. For instance, they were still using the phrase “stem reptiles”, which is not paleontologically valid. The AMNH is my all time favorite.

  11. Dan
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I just saw this yesterday, and highly recommend it. IA, you may be right that portions of it have their flaws, but I still think it is a great introduction for the general public (which is the exhibit’s target audience, after all). My wife (an MBA with very little scientific background) was enthralled.

    By the way, we heard Friday the Dawkins was getting a personal tour on Sunday – couldn’t wrangle an invite for that one unfortunately…

  12. JBlilie
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, your PB is published by Penguin! That’s quite an honor in my book! (I hadn’t paid attention because I have a HC and got it very early. But then I saw your photo above and noticed that little orange oval …)

  13. JBlilie
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Love both your book and Shubin’s book, BTW.

  14. SeanK
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I own three of the books on that shelf! Two copies of WEIT (one signed by Jerry!) and Your Inner Fish.

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