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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

Dr. Schubin has truly succeeded in tracing a fun and informative account of human evolution by looking at fossil and extant homologues. Drawing (especially) from paleontology, but also from fields such as molecular genetics, Schubin takes the reader on an introductory ...
Dr. Schubin has truly succeeded in tracing a fun and informative account of human evolution by looking at fossil and extant homologues. Drawing (especially) from paleontology, but also from fields such as molecular genetics, Schubin takes the reader on an introductory ride through vertebrate form, function, and genetics. I would highly recommend this title as a must-have to any person interested in the biological, medical, or paleontological sciences, whether professional or avocational.

posted by Anonymous on January 28, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Evolution at It's Best

This book by Neil Shubin was an easy read, although I was not convinced with the author's opinions of how the human body came to be. Neil Shubin talked about how the human body was related to ancient fish found in fossils. He explores all over the world and shares his ...
This book by Neil Shubin was an easy read, although I was not convinced with the author's opinions of how the human body came to be. Neil Shubin talked about how the human body was related to ancient fish found in fossils. He explores all over the world and shares his findings in this book. This book was an easy read with great pictures and graphs to explain each thought. The author had definite opinions about how the human form came to be. The author left no room for any religious theory.

-OSU Comp. Student 2009

posted by 1080033 on March 8, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2008

    A reviewer

    Dr. Schubin has truly succeeded in tracing a fun and informative account of human evolution by looking at fossil and extant homologues. Drawing (especially) from paleontology, but also from fields such as molecular genetics, Schubin takes the reader on an introductory ride through vertebrate form, function, and genetics. I would highly recommend this title as a must-have to any person interested in the biological, medical, or paleontological sciences, whether professional or avocational.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A great exposition of the evolutionary development of the human body

    Among many reasons that make evolution of life such a fascinating subject to study, the fact that we can learn more about how we humans have become what we are today must rank close to the top. This is the basic premise behind Neil Shubin's "Your Inner Fish." Shubin's day job is field paleontologist, but the idea for this book came about when he taught some laboratory exercises in human anatomy. It turns out that his training in recognizing and categorizing bones of long-extinct creatures is an excellent preparation for understanding of how the human body works.

    The book is a fascinating and insightful journey into the 3.5 billion years of evolution. It combines scientific facts and information with personal stories and anecdotes. The scientific information is fresh and relevant, and it is not just a regurgitation of the material that can be found in a myriad other books on evolution. These facts really help you with gaining insight into how exactly all life on Earth is related.

    The last major chapter is probably the most interesting. It is an examination of the way that many of our chronic diseases and illnesses can be traced to the very restricted design options that evolution had. There really is a price that we pay for getting to where we are in the evolutionary development.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2013

    Highly recommended - check it out!

    A very good book. Well written. The author makes a good case of connecting with our past(500 million years ago as a fish) As a human being it is good to know that "Natural Selection" is a feasible cause and affect than a belief in a myth. I'm ready for a more realistic interpretation of how I came to be,even if it means in updating of my personal beliefs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Great Book!!!!!

    This book is not about faith please put that behind you and you enjoy it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Examination of a Beautiful Pedigree

    The prominent University of Chicago Paleontologist and Professor of Anatomy Neil Shubin graciously narrates the long Geological journey that has led to the structure and function of our current biological system. Shubin's account of his discovery of the 375 million year fish from Ellesmere Island is a warm tale of modern science in one of its finest lights. The timeline he provides of the 375 million years passed since Tiktaalik is thoroughly engaging and bound to have any curious reader interested in our life history and common ancestry hooked until the end. Shubin's work is certain to enlighten all. Scientist or non-scientist, you will learn something new, and at the very least you are destined to gain a greater appreciate of life!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2008

    A MUST-READ FOR ALL EVOLUTION BUFFS ...

    A fascinating read that really makes you think. So interesting to see an esteemed scientist like Shubin taking on this subject so successfully, getting into the nitty gritty of what evolution is and what it is not. The only problem was that at times it could be quite dry and sometimes slow to read. On that note, I just finished another book that also really made me think. NATURAL SELECTION by Dave Freedman. It's a Jurassic Park type book - a science-based action-thriller about the evolution of a new species of flying predator. What made it special - besides how incredibly fast those pages turned - was how fun, relatable and easy-to-understand it made evolution, a great 'fictional compliment' to anything by Shubin.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2014

    Your Inner Fish discusses human evolution by tracing the origins

    Your Inner Fish discusses human evolution by tracing the origins of human bodies back millions of years and showing how we have similarities to many other species. Shubin provides a completely new perspective on our existence and how our world came to be what it is today. In the summer of 2004, Shubin and his colleagues were exploring ancient stream beds of the Arctic Circle when they made they discovered the amazing fossil, which they named Tiktaalik.  This fossil is approximately three-hundred and seventy-five million years old, living in the late Devonian period.  A number of distinctions set this creature apart from any other that had been discovered.  Shubin explains, “Like a fish, it has scales on its back and fins with fin webbing.  But, like early land-living animals, it has a flat head and a neck.” He describes the similarities we have with other species through in the formation of limbs, teeth, and body structure, and the development of smell, vision, and hearing, among other characteristics. On a smaller scale, he discusses DNA and its role in unifying all living creatures.  Shubin uses an analogy of a cake recipe passed from generation to generation to explain the evolution.  He states, “The recipe that builds our bodies has been passed down, and modified, for eons.” We can trace the mutation of genes back through animals and the fossils of past animals to understand how scent genes have occurred and evolved.  Similar stories can be traced for vision and hearing. Ancient fossils studied by paleontologists hold immeasurable information about human evolution. Shubin write, “The real power of this family tree lies in the predictions it allows us to make.” Shubin discusses how our “inner fish” makes us sick. He explains. “Our deep history was spent, at different times, in ancient oceans, small streams, and savannahs, not office buildings, ski slopes, and tennis courts. This disconnect between our past and our human present means that our bodies fall apart in certain predictable ways.” I thought this was a very interesting statement because we could consider a lot of what we do to be unnatural, and that’s not what our bodies have been designed for. Virtually every disease we have has a historical root.  Shubin discusses the reasons for obesity, heart disease, choking, sleep apnea, hernias, and even hiccups. We produce speech using controlled motion of the tongue, larynx, and back of the throat.  Shubin states that this is a relatively small modification from the basic design of mammals and reptiles.  The larynx corresponds to the gill bars of a shark or fish.  However, sleep apnea is a trade-off for the ability to talk. This book provides insight into the many facets of human evolution and explores the “inner fish” in all of us. Shubin succeeds in explaining the evolution of our bodies in a way than any person can follow and appreciate.  I find it amazing how much we can learn from ancient fossils found in rocks that are millions of years old.  Shubin concludes this book quite appropriately, stating, “I can imagine few things more beautiful or intellectually profound than finding the basis for our humanity, and remedies for many of the ills we suffer, nestled inside some of the most humble creatures that have ever lived on our planet.” 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2014

    Such an awe-inspiring book. If you know the principles of evolu

    Such an awe-inspiring book. If you know the principles of evolution, you will still be wonderstruck at the beauty of the journey as described by Shubin.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

    Excellent popular science writing

    Such an exposition told with great humanity. A page-turner!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Excellent Read

    Captivating treatise on human evolution. I learned so much about my body, can't wait to read Shubin's latest book. Highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    A Superior book !

    This was interesting and well structured, i learned several things about how parts our bodies evolved from simpller ancestor forms

    It flowed so well it was a pleasure to read

    I Highly recommend it

    Alan Hickox

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Entertaibning

    Entertaining and imformative for both scientists as well as the interested public

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2011

    Excellent read

    This is a great book for the Everyman. Short, sweet and to the point, the author really puts the vast evolutionary history of modern life into tangible perspective.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2011

    I love it.

    This book is great for anyone that wants to learn more about where we came from, and why we are the way we are. It take's you back to when we were all swimming around, and beyond. It contains all the logic and evidence that it needs to support its claims, and puts it all out there in an easy to read, easy to understand way. What a great book. I have it in paperback, and nookbook format.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2010

    Excellent read

    I like how the author explains technicalities in plain language. I enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    a good read.

    reading it put me in the mind set of the old natural history journals, translating well between the clinical scientific mind set and the more common workings mans logic that you don't always see. all in all a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    Breaking the mold of science writing

    This is a fascinating book on a topic that is typically presented dryly: paleontology. A very readable and layperson assessable book, Dr. Neil Shubin has great story telling skills. He successfully incorporates a behind the scenes personal view of his research with facts from the fossil world and the paleontological thought process.
    A great introduction to the researchers and fossil record supporting evolution!

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  • Posted December 20, 2009

    A Wonderful Book Connecting Human Evolution and Physiology

    This book is an excellent description of the the development of human physiology by the man who found the "missing link". For those interested in the scientific process it is great story to read. A refutation of all of the "creationist" arguments.

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Will really make you think about where you came from!

    In this book, Mr. Shubin describes how various facets of our anatomy are derived from early evolutionary waypoints in animals such as sharks, fish, even worms and jellyfish. It is really amazing to think that our larynx is derived from the gills of fish and our ear bones can be traced to sharks. The books is well written and humorous at times, while always being easily understandable to the general reader like myself. A fascinating read and a very enjoyable book. I came away from it thinking how interconnected all life on earth really is. Recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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