In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing a few more media hits and scientific publications that have been rolling out since January; among those is a terrific piece done by BBC Radio 4, in a series all about the natural history and science behind Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories.
If you listen to evolutionary biologists, "just so stories" are perjoratives because the Kipling narratives aren't so different from the explanations that have been used to explain adaptation in the natural world. (Think about Desmond Morris and The Naked Ape). The rise of cladistics spurred an effort to study adaptations in a comparative context -- which means using a phylogeny, foremostly -- and explain their origins in a testable framework. Rose and Lauder's Adaptation (1996, Academic Press) tackles these issues from various standpoints.
But listen in to hear all about rorquals. (No, I didn't get to meet Samuel West, but I wish he could narrate my papers).