Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body
Your Inner Fish tells the extraordinary history of the human body. Why do we look the way we do? When did we first evolve the features that we have? Why are we still able to do all the different things we do? And, finally, why do we fall ill in the way that we do?
Neil Shubin draws on the latest genetic research and his huge experience as an expeditionary palaeontologist to show the incredible impact the 3.5 billion year history of life has had on our bodies.
It turns out that many of our most distinctive features evolved when we were still swimming in the oceans. Shubin takes readers on a fascinating, unexpected journey and allows us to discover the deep connection to nature in our own bodies.A Note from Author Neil Shubin
This book grew out of an extraordinary circumstance in my life. On account of faculty departures, I ended up directing the human anatomy course at the University of Chicago medical school. Anatomy is the course during which nervous first-year medical students dissect human cadavers while learning the names and organization of most of the organs, holes, nerves, and vessels in the body. This is their grand entrance to the world of medicine, a formative experience on their path to becoming physicians. At first glance, you couldn't have imagined a worse candidate for the job of training the next generation of doctors: I'm a fish paleontologist.
It turns out that being a paleontologist is a huge advantage in teaching human anatomy. Why? The best roadmaps to human bodies lie in the bodies of other animals. The simplest way to teach students the nerves in the human head is to show them the state of affairs in sharks. The easiest roadmap to their limbs lies in fish. Reptiles are a real help with the structure of the brain. The reason is that the bodies of these creatures are simpler versions of ours.
During the summer of my second year leading the course, working in the Arctic, my colleagues and I discovered fossil fish that gave us powerful new insights into the invasion of land by fish over 375 million years ago. That discovery and my foray into teaching human anatomy led me to a profound connection.
That connection became this book. Approved by Maria