The featured book is ‘Your Inner Fish’ by Neil Shubin, a palaeontologist, who takes us on an evolutionary tour de force of the origins of our biology. Shubin begins by looking at the relationship between rock layers and time periods in Earth’s history. He tells us about certain transition periods between one species with examples being sought in certain layers and identifies 375 million years ago as the period in which the transition between fish and land animals occurred. Along the way he takes us through his own experiences of travelling to various locations including the antarctic where there are numerous dangers. However the most interesting parts are his exploration of the origins of the hand and the hand’s relation to the sonic hedgehog gene, teeth, shark’s gills and their relation to the cranial nerves, adhesion molecules, bodies, vision and the relation of the pax genes to the senses. Shubin brings all of these complex areas together with elegant clarity allowing us a glimpse of our awe-inspiring biological heritage. Shubin’s work would complement a textbook of anatomy for students of the field as he brings anatomy to life with rich interconnecting relationships.
Neil Shubin. Your Inner Fish. Penguin. Reprinted with afterforward in 2009.
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