Elaine's Reviews > Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body

Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin
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's review
Mar 26, 11

it was amazing
bookshelves: ebooks
Recommended for: everyone
Read from March 25 to 26, 2011

(I read this on my NOOKcolor ereader. Any Adobe based ereader can access this. There are several editions of physical copies and it is on Kindle)

Wittingly or not, Shubin presents a fascinating narrative of the interlocking web of the biological world from bacteria to worms to fish to birds to mammals. Even Creationists should find this interesting, because the relationship between species can be seen as being part of a wondrous Master Plan. Died in the wool Darwinians can read it as evolution not designed by God. Whatever your feelings about evolution, this won't offend, unless you take the word day to mean literally 24 hours. Many interpretations of the Bible stress that, to God, a day is not a human day, but enough about conflicting theories.

Shubin bases his conclusions on untold numbers of fossils, most of them incredibly ancient. He has looked especially for such things as the first animal that had a neck, or the first reptile that had the beginnings of mammalian tooth structure. Naysayers have to explain the fossil record as rationally as Shubin has, and to apply Occam's razor to their arguments.

DNA carries the genes that create all living creatures. What is fascinating is that the DNA strands are so alike in diverse biota that the genes that instruct analogous body parts are on the same location in the DNA strand of each. For instance, a frog's front legs, a bird's upper wing, and a human's upper arm bone all are governed by genes in the same place in the DNA strand. What differs is the time when the gene is turned on or off, and its specific instruction for each appendage. Science has revealed an amazing world.

We are intertwined with the world. Our hiccups derive from the same mechanism that tadpoles use to close their glottis while streaming water through their gills. Our jaws developed from the first gills of ancient fish. There seems to be a waste not, want not ethos in evolution. Old structures are adapted to new uses.

Besides presenting fascinating science, Shubin writes in an engaging, even chatty, style. I highly recommend this.


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Reading Progress

03/25/2011 "98"

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