Planet Earth

Your Inner Fish

Learn to love your body for what it really is: a jury-rigged fish.

By Jennifer BaroneFeb 21, 2008 12:00 AM
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by Neil Shubin (Pantheon Books, $24)

Anyone who has ever locked eyes with a chimpanzee has probably felt our primate identity. Now paleontologist Neil Shubin—discoverer of the “fishapod”Tiktaalik, whose fins with wrists and elbows illustrate an evolutionary transition between ancient fish and early land animals—leads a lively jaunt through the human body to get us in touch with our fishy (not to mention buggy, wormy, and yeasty) extended family. Shubin traces the deep history of anatomical innovations like heads, limbs, ears, and skeletons. Along the way he digs up fossils in the Arctic, peels apart a human cadaver in an anatomy lab, and investigates mutant flies with eyes in all the wrong places. Join him and learn to love your body for what it really is: a jury-rigged fish.

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