In this piece, we liked Aschwanden’s mix of folksy language and humor with serious explication of scientific debate. She very clearly gets at what’s at stake in the story; we were primarily engaged by this, by the question of how species and subspecies do and should get classified. This narrative-as-argument gets enlivened by such passages as this one about a group of experts: “Given their distinct morphology (bald head), adaptations (identical Macintosh laptops) and behavior (a tendency to ask probing questions) the panelists themselves might qualify as a distinct subspecies under some definitions.”

Humor such as this lends the narrator voice, allies her with her reader and makes us want to continue in her company.

Read “Is It or Isn’t It (Just Another Mouse)?” by Christie Aschwanden

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