Your Inner Fish : The Amazing Discovery of Our 375-Million-Year-Old Ancestor, Paperback

Your Inner Fish : The Amazing Discovery of Our 375-Million-Year-Old Ancestor Paperback

4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Neil Shubin's "Your Inner Fish" is the unexpected story of how one creature's journey out of the water made the human body what it is today - and one man's voyage of discovery in search of our origins.

Have you ever wondered why our bodies look and work and fail the way they do?

One of the world's leading experts in evolutionary history, Neil Shubin reveals the secrets of our biology: why if we want to understand our limbs we should take a close look at Tiktaalik, the first fish capable of doing a push-up; why if we want to know why we hiccup, the answer is in the way fish breathe; and why it is that fish teeth are surprisingly similar to human breasts. "This would be Darwin's book of the year". ("Sunday Telegraph"). "An intelligent, exhilarating, and compelling scientific adventure story". (Oliver Sacks, author of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat"). "Delightful ...his enthusiasm is infectious". (Steven D. Levitt, author of "Freakonomics"). "Profoundly fascinating ...a magisterial work ...expressed so clearly and with such good humour". ("Financial Times"). "Will make you think about your organs in ways you have never considered before". ("Sunday Times"). Neil Shubin is a palaeontologist in the great tradition of his mentors, Ernst Mayr and Stephen Jay Gould.

He has discovered fossils around the world that have changed the way we think about many of the key transitions in evolution and has pioneered a new synthesis of expeditionary palaeontology, developmental genetics and genomics.

He trained at Columbia, Harvard and Berkeley and is currently Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Chicago.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Anatomy
  • ISBN: 9780141027586



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

This was a really enjoyable book and very interesting. It was very easy to read and explained the technical science in basic language. It covers paeleontology and the finding of a creature that explains a step in evolution. It also covers how we have evolved from single cell organsisms and embryology. Very interesting and would recommend it.

Review by

If, like me, you haven't picked up a biology textbook in the last 20 years, I'm afraid your biological knowledge is completely out of date. In an effort to learn more about the world around me, I've been making an effort to learn about the latest findings. Sean Carroll's books have been enormously helpful, but they are still a bit on the technical side. Neal Shubin's book, Your Inner Fish, covers much the same ground, but in a more accessible and understandable way for the general reader. The findings are absolutely remarkable. The same genes, the same body plans, the same proteins, jury-rigged over eons of time can produce remarkable diversity.My only complaint is the title of this book. It put me off reading it for a long time. It's too cute and suggests a superficial approach to the topic. Happily, such is not the case. While much of the technical detail is smoothed over, the essence of the new understand provided by molecular and developmental biology is explained in clear and interesting prose that makes the general ideas extraordinarily compelling. It is interesting to me that we have come so far in biology that you can have a paleontologist and and a molecular biologist working side by side in the same lab and not think it is the least bit strange.

Review by

A fascinating and well explained book of popular science; Neil Shubin is a very clear and easy writer. This covers the discovery of Tiktaalik, the fish-amphibian intermediary with fossils found exactly as predicted in the Canadian arctic. But it's not just a paleontology story, it's about what we have in common with our early ancestors in terms of genes, embryology and anatomy. What do we have in common with fish? Lots! Read it and find out, it's worth the time.