Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.98 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body Hardcover – January 15, 2008
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Oliver Sacks on Your Inner Fish
Since the 1970 publication of Migraine, neurologist Oliver Sacks's unusual and fascinating case histories of "differently brained" people and phenomena--a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome, a community of people born totally colorblind, musical hallucinations, to name a few--have been marked by extraordinary compassion and humanity, focusing on the patient as much as the condition. His books include The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film), and 2007's Musicophilia. He lives in New York City, where he is Professor of Clinical Neurology at Columbia University.
From Publishers Weekly
Fish paleontologist Shubin illuminates the subject of evolution with humor and clarity in this compelling look at how the human body evolved into its present state. Parsing the millennia-old genetic history of the human form is a natural project for Shubin, who chairs the department of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago and was co-discoverer of Tiktaalik, a 375-million-year-old fossil fish whose flat skull and limbs, and finger, toe, ankle and wrist bones, provide a link between fish and the earliest land-dwelling creatures. Shubin moves smoothly through the anatomical spectrum, finding ancient precursors to human teeth in a 200-million-year-old fossil of the mouse-size part animal, part reptile tritheledont; he also notes cellular similarities between humans and sponges. Other fossils reveal the origins of our senses, from the eye to that wonderful Rube Goldberg contraption the ear. Shubin excels at explaining the science, making each discovery an adventure, whether it's a Pennsylvania roadcut or a stony outcrop beset by polar bears and howling Arctic winds. 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. Illus. (Jan. 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is split by 11 chapters. The first four explore the theme of how we can trace the same organ in different creatures. I'll briefly summarize:
- Chapter 1-4:
The author starts by describing his legendary trip to Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. He describes the struggles and the significance of his finding: The Tiktaalik; a creature from the late Devonian period (375 million years ago) that currently holds as the most well-established evolutionary transition from fish to amphibian. I've read about the Tiktaalik before in one of Dawkin's books, but I was surprised to find out that the author of this book actually discovered it. His expedition is a fascinating read in itself because the author is a great storyteller, and seems to be a really humble, laid-back, and fun guy. He all of the latter not only when sharing his personal experiences, but when speaking on behalf of his chosen subjects as well. He describes how he ended up near the arctic - and on the Pennsylvania highways - when looking for his fossils of choice. He gives a general introduction of where and how - using paleontology and evolution - you would find fossils. He elucidates the difference between fish and amphibian (through bone structure and limbs) and mammal and reptile. There's a chapter dedicated to teeth. Teeth are important and extremely helpful when identifying or distinguishing differences among animals (i.e. reptiles and mammals). There's a chapter dedicated limb structure, specifically the hand and arm. The developmental difference between our arms and a fish's fins are very similar early on in development but become vastly different through the process (inside the egg). The author explains why and shows experiments involving the relevant genes for such functions (those involving the ZPA tissue and Sonic Hedgehog gene manipulation, there's a chapter to this called "Handy Genes").
- Chapter 5-11:
In each one of these chapters, certain body parts of ours are to our distant ancestors. In other words, we get to explore, interpret, analyze, compare and contrast the our body functions with our distant ancestors. We figure out the inception of many body parts (and functions) and why they evolved to work the way they do for us. Specifically, there's a chapter on: the head, entire body, scent, vision, and ears.
Some interesting stuff by chapter: In the field of Embryology, - the study of Embryos, or fetuses - we see that all animals are alike at their very initial gestation stage, with four little swellings called arches that develop around what comes to be the throat area. This is explained in more detail in the book but the fascinating thing is that these arches, depending on the species, all come to have a different but similar function in the body as the conception process gets underway. In the book, the example of comparison are humans and our very distant ancestor shark. Cranial nerve structure is also discussed and compared. Also discussed are headless animals - primitive ones - and the origins of our notochord. There's a whole section on the similarity of active (and inactive) genes among completely different specifies. What happens if you remove tissue, or add certain DNA strands in fruitful area? The evolution of scent is interesting because fish evolving to leave the water and thus become an amphibian, it requires major changes because there are 2 kinds of smelling genes: one for water and one for air. The chapter on scent is epic and so is the proceeding one on vision and then Hearing. We can trace major events in our eyes by analyzing certain eye genes that we share with other creatures. Mammals have the same ear bones as fish, the difference being that wish don't have ears. We come to see that there's major contrast between the functions of these bones for different groups of animals, like mammals and amphibians. These differences are part of why we label an animal to be a "mammal" or "amphibian" in the first place. Our middle ear bones are the malleus, incus and stapes. We come to see that the malleus and incus evolved from jawbones.
Of the million years of life, Homo Sapiens have survived extinction and for the time being remain extant. But this doesn't mean that we don't have our problems. There's no preternatural creator ghost behind the complexity or susceptibility of our bodies, but even better: an evolutionary explanation of everything in our body from our genetic workings to our genotypes. Because of such primitive origins, our bodies aren't fully accustomed to certain things and thus thanks to our fish ancestors we develop things like hernias or hangovers. So why is this better then? For one, because it makes perfect sense! And two, by having a natural understanding of our anatomy, we can spearhead our way into the understanding of imperative issues - like disease or congenital defects - that shackle and sometimes terminate the life of many good individuals. This is very important, and so is this book. I'm grateful I read it.
"We all know the Darwin fish, the car-bumper send-up of the Christian "ichthys" symbol, or Jesus fish.
Unlike the Christian symbol, the Darwin fish has, you know, legs. Har har.
But the Darwin fish isn't merely a clever joke; in effect, it contains a testable scientific prediction. If evolution is true, and if life on Earth originated in water, then there must have once been fish species possessing primitive limbs, which enabled them to spend some part of their lives on land.
And these species, in turn, must be the ancestors of four-limbed, land-living vertebrates like us.
SURE ENOUGH, IN 2004, SCIENTISTS FOUND ONE OF THOSE TRANSITIONAL SPECIES: TIKTAALIK ROSEAE, A 375 MILLION-YEAR-OLD DEVONIAN PERIOD SPECIMEN DISCOVERED IN THE CANADIAN ARCTIC BY PALEONTOLOGIST NEIL SHUBIN AND HIS COLLEAGUES.
TIKTAALIK, EXPLAINS SHUBIN ON THE LATEST EPISODE OF THE INQUIRING MINDS PODCAST, IS AN "ANATOMICAL MIX BETWEEN FISH AND A LAND-LIVING ANIMAL." -
This fish crawled out of the water… AND INTO CREATIONISTS' NIGHTMARES
Some 375 million years ago, Tiktaalik emerged onto land.
TODAY, EXPLAINS PALEONTOLOGIST NEIL SHUBIN, WE'RE ALL WALKING AROUND IN MODIFIED FISH BODIES."
SUMMARY: When a member of the Facebook history and current events website I manage posted this … I considered it a kind of mockery of evolution and written by someone with a limited knowledge of evolution. Since then I have discovered it is an authentic archaeological discovery … you can go to the Museum where it is kept and look at it with your own eyes and touch it if they would let you!
Neil Shubin has written a very comprehensive book detailing his life as a palaeontologist and some of the very significant discoveries made in his classes in which he taught first year medical students in the dissembling of not animal but donated human bodies and his and their experiences in doing so with regard to what they discovered by the original functioning in what form at what time and the gradual evolution into human hands, forearms, upper arms, chest organs, stomach organs, and of course vertebrae, the neural system of the head and the human body’s intricate nervous system that allows movements of the head, eyes, arms and hands.
This book is available in Amazon.com Kindle book and believe me when I say it is the most understandable, written for the public, in terms that the general public can understand, and with many examples, drawings, photograps and other graphic illustrations to help explain the details given by Dr Neil Shubin.
It’s better than the “twilight zone,” “science-fiction,” and “watching the little girl and or Michael Jackson skipping down the yellow brick road” ! … Check it out for yourself! It is a fascinating experience for for those who haven’t been accustomed to reading and trying to understand the scientific origins of life and the universe. Harold L Carter / [...]