301 of 315 people found the following review helpful
a truly great book!,
This review is from: Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Hardcover)
This is the most enjoyable book I've read on evolution since Gould's fine Wonderful Life. Shubin not only combines great skills in paleontology and anatomy with an insatiable curiosity, but he also has a rare gift at writing as well. The book looks at aspects of human anatomy and senses--hands, smell, hearing, vision, etc--and traces them back--way back! Some of this, of course, has been done before, but Shubin writes with a flair, a clarity, and a precision that brings it all into a new focus. There is also an emphasis on DNA, in particular recent DNA experiments that combined with the paleontology and anatomy makes a very compelling case.
Shubin starts off with the search for a link between fish and land animals that took him to the Canadian Arctic and culminated in the discovery of Tiktaalik--a fish with a flattened head and flippers that made it look rather like a very primitive alligator in ways. The author then shows the evolution of necks and limbs. He does the same with some of the organs such as smell and vision, and shows their evolution as well.
The book is perhaps at its best in its discussion of the role of DNA in evolution. It is now known that it is possible to turn on a gene that is responsible for the development of an eye, for example. So you can create a fruitfly with an eye almost anywhere you want--such as on a leg--and many of these are functional, although in a primitive way. But it gets even more interesting. Suppose you take a gene from a mouse that controls the development of an eye, and implant it into a fruitfly, what happens? You get a fruitfly eye, not a mouse eye. This says a lot about the basic building blocks of life.
The book does have one major flaw. At 200 pages it's way too short! If the writing were dry or stiff, 200 pages would be sufficient, but with Shubin's thoroughly enjoyable writing and choice of subjects, I would have preferred 600 pages.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 21, 2010 8:57:37 PM PDT
! Aesop - Sam says:
A informative and wonderful review.
Posted on Nov 21, 2010 6:39:55 AM PST
Linda Hulley says:
This reviewer should write a book, he's a great writer, descriptive and enthusiastic. Now I'm going get the book.
Posted on Apr 23, 2014 7:11:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 23, 2014 7:12:26 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2014 12:19:24 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 14, 2014 11:40:13 PM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2014 5:33:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2014 5:34:15 PM PDT
Posted on May 16, 2014 6:39:20 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2014 12:04:43 AM PDT
Gregory M. Hodges says:
Harry Joseph, give up your "Magic Man in the Sky" explanation. It's outdated and destined for extinction.
And, really...UCG? Are you seriously peddling that ridiculous cult as a credible source?
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2014 4:57:38 AM PDT
They will be judged by what come from their lips. You said I didn't
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2015 11:13:16 PM PST
Even the Pope believes in evolution. You know more than he does?