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Your Inner Fish tells the extraordinary history of the human body. Why do we look the way we do? When did we first evolve the features that we have? Why are we still able to do all the different things we do? And, finally, why do we fall ill in the way that we do?
Neil Shubin draws on the latest genetic research and his huge experience as an expeditionary palaeontologist to show the incredible impact the 3.5 billion year history of life has had on our bodies. It turns out that many of our most distinctive features evolved when we were still swimming in the oceans. Shubin takes readers on a fascinating, unexpected journey and allows us to discover the deep connection to nature in our own bodies.
Neil Shubin is a palaeontologist in the great tradition of his mentors, Ernst Mayr and Stephen Jay Gould. He has discovered fossils around the world that have changed the way we think about many of the key transitions in evolution and has pioneered a new synthesis of expeditionary palaeontology, developmental genetics and genomics. He trained at Columbia, Harvard and Berkeley and is currently Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Chicago.
"Shubin inspects our eyeballs, noses and hands to demonstrate how much we have in common with other animals. He notes how networks of genes for simple traits can expand and diversify until they build new complex structures such as heads. Also, that hangovers explain how our ears evolved from sensory cells on the surface of fish. He invesitgates the hic-cup, the result of a tortuous nervous system."
– Carl Zimmer, Nature (Vol 451, January 2008)
"Your inner fish will make you think about your organs in ways you have never considered before."
– Richard Fortey, The Sunday Times
"Recommended, especially for those with little knowledge of natural science and for those who were ever, even momentarily confused by the ideas of "intelligent design"."
– Magda Healey, Bookbag
"In a book that unpacks the history in our bones, Neil Shubin, a distinguished evolutionary biologist based in Chicago, takes up the baton. As he seizes it, his hand, transformed from what was once a fishy fin, provides a powerful example of what evolution is capable of. At the same time Shubin lifts up his nose, swivels his eyes, appreciates music, ponders on the contortions of the male reproductive system, even addresses hiccups, and in each case he tells a compelling evolutionary story."
– Simon Conway Morris, New Scientist