Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body

Published By: Pantheon

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Science

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Reviewed by Carrie Spellman

In July of 2004 paleontologist Neil Shubin and his team discovered a fossil that bridged the gap between fish and land-living animals. It was, and is, the fossil equivalent to a gold mine, a missing link in evolution. The real story begins much earlier.

Actually, there are a few different stories involved in this book. There is Neil Shubin’s personal story of a life in paleontology and biology. There is the story of the human interest in how we are designed, and why, and how that relates to other species. Encompassing all of that is the observable physical history of evolution. Shubin is generous enough to treat readers to the highlights of all of these.

I found this book eminently readable, interesting, eye opening, educational, and actually fun. It made digging for fossils in often unpleasant conditions sound like fun. Suddenly scientific discoveries were exciting. Most of all though, for someone who unquestioningly accepts that we evolved from monkeys, the knowledge and understanding of how humans evolved from fish was a revelation. All of this is done with an impressive ability to build steppingstones of information, teach without overwhelming, and infuse a surprising sense of humor.

I am grateful not only for Neil Shubin’s work, but his ability to pull past and present information together in a way that even a science dunce (me) could understand.

Armchair Interviews says: Author is PhD at University of Chicago in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy.

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