Evolving Cover Art?

Encyclopedia of Evolution coverThe Encyclopedia of Evolution: Humanity’s Search for Its Origins

Submitter: The inside pages are no where near as entertaining as the cover. While weeding my reference collection I came across this book and was evaluating it for withdrawal. This was my first time seeing this book and immediately found myself drawn the can of soup. A can of Chef Boyardee soup with mini meatballs and tomato sauce is part of evolution? How is dinosaur themed pasta noodles important to evolution? The giant bug sitting on top is just a cherry on top! I can’t stop laughing or asking “Why?”

Holly: When hard-core scientists who write books about evolution try to be funny, this is the result. Pasta shaped like dinosaurs. How very clever of them. Now let’s talk about science books that are 23 years old. On second thought, no. Let’s not. Just weed them.


Can of Chef Boyardee and a toy dinosaur


  1. Although this book cover is hilarious, and the book itself appears to be geared towards a public library audience and I would support weeding it, I do take exception to Holly’s comment, “Now let’s talk about science books that are 23 years old. On second thought, no. Let’s not. Just weed them.”

    As a librarian for a government science library, I have science books that are almost 200 years old, and scientific books of every age right up to present. Some indeed do fall out of currency, which is dependent on the nature of the science and whether currency is valued, how focused the topic is, the collecting focus of the library, and the needs of its patrons. For example, I wouldn’t keep a 20 year-old general genetics textbook (no currency in a field where currency is paramount), but I would keep a 20-year old book on wildlife conservation, especially if it focused on particular ecosystems or taxa. Some of our late 19th century and early 20th century bird checklist books have information not found anywhere else. Some of these older titles are classics and some focus on topics never written about again, or as well. As one librarian I know says, when discussing conservation monographs from the 1940s, “a moose is a moose”. In other words, the conservation work done then is of value when comparing to today’s conservation efforts, and that our subjects (the living world) have not fundamentally changed their biology in the interim (thus the science is still of value).

    As librarians, I think it is incumbent upon us to not make sweeping statements. We have enough trouble trying to convince people that not everything can be found online and that libraries and the sometimes older, pre-digital information they contain are not out of date.

    1. Holly and Mary always consider the possibility of moving a volume (such as this one) to archives. However, this book would have appeared in a children’s library and as such, might be confusing and have information that’s no longer correct. It’s only been relatively recently, for example, that scientists have figured out the probable cause of the extinction of many dinosaurs and that birds may have evolved from other dinosaurs.

  2. Come on, Warren, a public library is neither the TARDIS nor the Weasley’s car. It’s not bigger on the inside. There’s a finite amount of room and there’s no room for a 23 year old book of likely mostly debunked stuff. If it was an arcive library, fine. Or if someone wants to scan it to save in computers. Fine. But in a public library, it should’ve been weeded years ago.

    And also – primordial soup – oy vey.

    1. I think the problem is that “science” is such a broad term, and I don’t think every 23-year-old book about any kind of scientific field should instantly be weeded based solely on age either.

      1. It all depends on the size of the library and on the science in the book. Having a scientist for a father I know for a fact that science and it’s facts is an ever changing, dare I say evolving, thing. What they hold true for years as a “fact” can be debunked in a heartbeat.

        Plus, let’s face it, people do judge books by their cover in a public library. I’ve seen perfectly good books passed over for a cover that looked too old, too silly, too dirty, etc in favor of the flashy book with no substance. This cover is the kind they’d ignore.

      1. *sighs* Please pay attention to what I actually said. “Facts” get debunked all the time. Think of all the things scientists used to say were real that aren’t. Think of all the “missing links” that turned out to be fakes, mistakes, etc.

        Granted, I don’t believe in evolution. But that doesn’t make what I said about facts being debunked all the time any less true.

  3. Hate to say it but I’d keep just for the intro by Stephan Jay Gould. Love Him

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