Neil Shubin, a leading paleontologist and professor of anatomy who discovered Tiktaalik the "missing link" that made headlines around the world in April 2006 tells the story of evolution by tracing the organs of the human body back millions of years, long before the first creatures walked the earth. By examining fossils and DNA, Shubin shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our head is organized like that of a long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genome look and function like those of worms and bacteria.
Shubin makes us see ourselves and our world in a completely new light. Your Inner Fish is science writing at its finest enlightening, accessible, and told with irresistible enthusiasm."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 56.
- Review Date: 2007-11-05
- Reviewer: Staff
Fish paleontologist Shubin illuminates the subject of evolution with humor and clarity in this compelling look at how the human body evolved into its present state. Parsing the millennia-old genetic history of human form is a natural project for Shubin, who chairs the department of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago, and was co-discoverer of Tiktaalik, a 375-million-year-old fossil fish whose flat skull, limbs and finger, toe, ankle and wrist bones, provide a link between fish and the earliest land-dwelling creatures. Shubin moves smoothly through the anatomical spectrum, finding ancient precursors to human teeth in a 200-million-year-old fossil of the mouse-size “part animal, part reptile” tritheledont; he also notes cellular similarities between humans and sponges. Other fossils reveal the origins of our senses, from the eye , to that “wonderful Rube Goldberg contraption,” the ear. Shubin excels at explaining the science, making each discovery an adventure, whether to a Pennsylvania roadcut or a stony outcrop beset by polar bears and howling Arctic winds. “I can imagine few things more beautiful or intellectually profound than finding the basis for our humanity... nestled inside some of the most humble creatures that ever lived...,” he writes, and curious readers are likely to agree. Illus. (Jan. 15)