Your Inner Fish: Book summary and reviews of Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

Your Inner Fish

A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year-History of the Human Body

by Neil Shubin

Your Inner Fish

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Book Summary

Why do we look the way we do? What does the human hand have in common with the wing of a fly? Are breasts, sweat glands, and scales connected in some way? To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today's most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources: worms, flies, and even fish.

Neil Shubin, a leading paleontologist and professor of anatomy who discovered Bialik--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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"'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." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. A skillful writer, paleontologist Shubin conveys infectious enthusiasm. . . . Even readers with only a layperson's knowledge of evolution will learn marvelous things about the unity of all organisms since the beginning of life." - Kirkus Reviews.

"I was hooked from the first chapter of Your Inner Fish. Creationists will want this book banned because it presents irrefutable evidence for a transitional creature that set the stage for the journey from sea to land. This engaging book combines the excitement of discovery with the rigors of great scholarship to provide a convincing case of evolution from fish to man." - Don Johanson, director, Institute of Human Origins; discoverer of "Lucy".

"In this extraordinary book, Neil Shubin takes us on an epic expedition to arctic wastelands, where his team discovered amazing new fossil evidence of creatures that bridge the gap between fish and land-living animals. . . .With clarity and wit, Shubin shows us how exciting it is to be in the new age of discovery in evolutionary biology." - Mike Novacek, author of Terra: Our 100 Million Year Ecosystem and the Threats That Now Put It at Risk.

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Author Information

Neil Shubin Author Biography

Photo: John Weinstein

Neil Shubin is the author of The Universe Within and the best-selling Your Inner Fish, which was chosen by the National Academy of Sciences as the best book of the year in 2009.

Trained at Columbia, Harvard, and the University of California at Berkeley, Shubin is associate dean of biological sciences at the University of Chicago. In 2011 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

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