Book review: ‘Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body’ by Neil Shubin

How our evolutionary history is written into our bodies.

Your Inner FishPalaeontologist Neil Shubin knows a thing or two about fish evolution. In 2004, he and colleagues discovered the 375 million year old fossil, Tiktaalik: a fish which could do push-ups with its fins. A nicer 'missing-link' between fish and amphibians, it would be harder to find.

Your Inner Fish begins with an account of how Shubin and his colleagues used evolutionary theory to deduce the best location to look for fossils of early amphibious fish. The rest of the book describes how various features of the human anatomy can be traced back to our mammalian, reptile, amphibian, fish and earlier ancestors. Who would have thought that we have our amphibian forebears to blame for hiccups, and that our hernias result from changes in the position of our gonads since the time when we were fish?

Fascinating stuff. An easy and recommended read.

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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