Friday, December 12, 2014

Your Inner Fish (Neil Shubin)

Your Inner Fish
Neil Shubin
Nonfiction, Science
****+ (Good/Great)

DESCRIPTION: At first glance, humans and animals seem worlds apart... especially when you go back to the first life forms in the fossil record. But both DNA and paleontology show just how much we owe to our distant ancestors - and our more recent ones. Bacteria, jellyfish, worms, fish, and more have plenty to teach us about ourselves.

REVIEW: A fascinating, accessible look at evolution in action, Your Inner Fish demonstrates how connected we are to our living and deceased relatives, and why it matters. Not only can our bodies and DNA be traced back in time, but many of our ailments can, too; by denying our place as an evolved species, we risk cutting ourselves off from research avenues and cures to problems that have plagued us for longer than we've walked upright. Shubin discusses the works of many scientists, including stories from his own time in the field - particularly his participation in the discovery of Tikaalik, a transitional fishlike fossil on the cusp of terrestrial expansion. (Sadly, the first Google hits on it are creationist sites crying hoax... as sad a commentary on the state of science education today as I've seen.) The ending felt a bit abrupt, but overall I enjoyed this book.

You Might Also Enjoy:
Extreme Science (Phil Clarke) - My Review
A SURVIVAL GUIDE: Living with Dinosaurs in the Jurassic Period (Dougal Dixon) - My Review
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs (Dr. David Norman) - My Review

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