Best Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into The 3.5 Billion Year History Of The Human Body By Neil Shubin – Vansonphu.com

Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into The 3.5 Billion Year History Of The Human Body This really was a pleasure another book recommended by Wendy although what I liked most about it was possibly not the most obvious things about the book From very early on I was in a bit of a world of my own and had started to wonder what to make of the fact that palaeontologists tend to make such wonderful science writers I ve said it before, but I think Gould is a better writer than Dawkins and that is a big statement for me, as I tend to prefer an English voice over an American one I This really was a pleasure another book recommended by Wendy although what I liked most about it was possibly not the most obvious things about the book From very early on I was in a bit of a world of my own and had started to wonder what to make of the fact that palaeontologists tend to make such wonderful science writers I ve said it before, but I think Gould is a better writer than Dawkins and that is a big statement for me, as I tend to prefer an English voice over an American one I don t mean that to be rude, but there are manysimilarities between British English and Australian English than I think there are with American English but Gould is in a class of his own I get Gould, I understand him muchreadily than I understand other science writers and I think this is because I really understand his notions of development and change His book, Life s Grandeur or Full House in the States is perhaps one of the greatest books on evolution ever written as someone who had read many, many books on evolution before I had read Life s Grandeur I really didn t think I would ever fundamentally learn anything new about evolution again this book showed me just how limited my understanding of evolution really was The only other book to come close to teaching me anew something I thought I knew well enough was Deep Time Although Your Inner Fish didn t fundamentally change my view on the world I think it might if you haven t read much on evolutionary biology Even if you have, there is much of interest here.But I ve distracted myself the thing that had me fascinated throughout this book was the idea that it was so well written and again, written by a palaeontologist What is it that makes them such good writers Well, I think it might have something to do with the fact that while the rest of science is focused on specialising to a nearly absurd level palaeontologists are required to be generalists They need to know geology to know how old rocks are, they need to know chemistry to know how bodily processes or rock processes or uranium processes work, they need to know physics or at least physical chemistry to understand why fossils don t form in basalt, and they absolutely need to know a little theology because well, because you know why Also anatomy, DNA and physiology of many, many animals.Someone once said all science is either physics or it is stamp collecting I think this book goes quite some way to showing that stamp collecting has very many payoffs and physics has little to be quite so smug about.I think it might be the fact that there is so much they need to know, so many bits and pieces of knowledge the fact that they need to be generalists that makes them such good science writers And this guy really is a very good science writer.Years ago I worked with a couple of Fundamentalist Christians When we were talking one day one of them became outraged and said to me, Do you really think I m related to a FISH.I had no idea how to answer him at first Given Christians are quite fond of fish Peter and all that well, and those stickers they put on the back of their cars it took me a second to work out the problem I had also been expecting APE so when he got worked up over fish, well, I wasn t sure what had happened I told him it was worse than he even imagined I didn t want him to take it personally, but actually I thought he was related to a bacteria He didn t seem to find this a muchcomforting notion and looked at me as if I was completely insane He wasn t the first, he won t be the last.This book does not waste time arguing with fundies and that has to be a good thing Already there has been far too many trees cut down and turned to paper in a pointless attempt to achieve the impossible that is, to convince those who have no interest in understanding that their God just didn t create the world 4,000 years ago I ve decided that it is best to just ignore these people They have self selected themselves to a life of ignorance and blindness, unfortunately, nothing can be done for them and whilst this is terribly sad, it is, nonetheless, a fact of life.What this book does do is work its way through your body and show interesting little facts about residual properties we have that are there due to our ancestry And not just our paternal grandfather, Herbert St George, but those fish my fundamentalist friend was so outraged over Anddown into the deep dark past when we were not even yet fish, back when we were yeast or something similar Because that is one of the truly fascinating insights that fundamentalist Christians will never get to grasp the theory of evolution allows us to make remarkable predictions about how we live and how we have come to be the way we are Those predictions allow us to delve into our genetic heritage and to make sense of where we have come from and that knowledge, that insight, is not barren in the sense that saying God did it is barren , but rather allows us ways to potentially find solutions to some of our life s ongoing ills For me the end of this book was by far the most interesting the part where he explains why some many of us suffer from haemorrhoids or varicose veins or hernias Our inner fish can sometimes seem to have had it in for us His explanation of the evolutionary choices that are made by animals I mean that metaphorically, obviously particularly around whether to see in colour or in black and white, is truly fascinating I also learnt what is happening in my ear when I drink too much alcohol and the room starts spinning and who would have thought that your eyes would tend to move to the right due to this misperception of a spinning room Fascinating.In fact, the book is full of little bits of information about bodily processes I have experienced, but never really understood And that is always a nice thing to find out We do tend to spend quite a bit of time in our bodies and being told what they are up to can be quite something.This book is worth reading for his discussion on embryology alone, if you know nothing about this fascinating subject you should rush out and get hold of this book I also enjoyed it for the stuff about dolphins not being able to smell, due to their on again off again relationship with the sea I also enjoyed him talking about the nerves in the face and how these twist and turn in ways one would never get them to do if one was designing their function from scratch, so to speak Not that this was actually what interested me, what really interested me was the discussion of the various muscles of the face that make us frown and smile or do things like that I had a chicken egg moment where I wondered which came first, the ability to frown to display perplexity or was this something that was selected for so that the muscle become honed over time, or generations rather This was a fascinating book, with lots of asides to chew over if you are interested in how we got here and how much of our inner fish is still obvious about us this is a great book to read now it is my turn to recommend it Why do we look the way we do What does the human hand have in common with the wing of a fly Are breasts, sweat glands, and scales connected in some way To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today s most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources worms, flies, and even fish Neil Shubin, a leading paleontologist and professor of anatomy who discovered Tiktaalik the missing link that made headlines around the world in Apriltells the story of evolution by tracing the organs of the human body back millions of years, long before the first creatures walked the earth By examining fossils and DNA, Shubin shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our head is organized like that of a long extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genome look and function like those of worms and bacteria Shubin makes us see ourselves and our world in a completely new light YOUR INNER FISH is science writing at its finest enlightening, accessible, and told with irresistible enthusiasm My inner fish hails the author This fish, tiktaalik, of course, it wasthan fish It could do push ups This book delivered exactly what I wanted an explanation of evolution from fish and before really to man in layman s terms, but not moron layman well spoken layman I had so many ah ha moments while reading this book that my head began to spin a little, but in a good way For instance, when I used to think about evolution the hardest part for me to wrap my mind around was the slow progress of body parts morphing from one form to the next What this book enlightened me to was that it s not This book delivered exactly what I wanted an explanation of evolution from fish and before really to man in layman s terms, but not moron layman well spoken layman I had so many ah ha moments while reading this book that my head began to spin a little, but in a good way For instance, when I used to think about evolution the hardest part for me to wrap my mind around was the slow progress of body parts morphing from one form to the next What this book enlightened me to was that it s not just the body parts themselves that are physically changing in particular organisms, but it s the genes that change which cause the bodily structure change It was a lot easier for me to wrap my brain around slight changes in DNA that cause physical mutations that, if useful, are passed through generations For some reason I had always put the horse before the cart and thought of evolution in terms of the physical change before the genetic mutation But even if your questions on evolution aresophisticated than my unfounded misguidance, you will learn a ton from this book Structure by structure Piece by piece You can see how we evolved from our aquatic ancestors This book wasinformative and enlightening than all the anthropology classes I ever took in college It s like getting a free minor in human evolution It was refreshing to see recent and not so recent discoveries about evolution of the body and brain put into an accessible book My medium rating reflects the limited impact I got from the book due to a former career in developmental neurobiology and past reading of inspired writing on evolution from the likes of Gould, Dawkins, and Wilson Still it s sexy and cool to hear about how structures evolved for one purpose get adapted for new functions when opportunities for expansion of life emerge It was refreshing to see recent and not so recent discoveries about evolution of the body and brain put into an accessible book My medium rating reflects the limited impact I got from the book due to a former career in developmental neurobiology and past reading of inspired writing on evolution from the likes of Gould, Dawkins, and Wilson Still it s sexy and cool to hear about how structures evolved for one purpose get adapted for new functions when opportunities for expansion of life emerge Thus it was for fish making the transition to land life as amphibians by repurposing bony structures of fins as forms that comprise bones of the limbs and paws hands That Shubin was involved in finding the rare fossils of transition forms above the Arctic circle brings some valuable authenticity to his story He is in his element as well when he covers the lineage of the bones of the mammalian inner ear from bones of the jaws of ancient fish And he does a pretty good job keeping it lively when he covers basic embryology behind basic body plans, limb development, and the evolution of teeth, smell, and eyes He has to spread himself so thin, that the molecular genetic revolution spawned by the discovery of pattern genes called Hox and how cell fates are determined gets such a light treatment that much of the wonder and magnificence of these advances don t really shine.The hook for the general reader is an altering of your mindset as highlighted in the book s title, i.e like Russian nesting dolls, the forms and patterns of our fish ancestors lie within us The concept of lineage from one parent to another assures continuity even further back he notes that he could have called the book Your Inner Fly given the analogous roles that Hox genes play in their development Looking at the advances from the fish side of things, his playful perspective leads to a section near the end called Why History Makes Us Sick In many ways, we humans are the fish equivalent of a hot rod Beetle Take the body plan of a fish, dress it up to be a mammal, tweak and twist that mammal until it walks on two legs, talks, thinks, and has superfine control of its fingers and you have a recipe for problems We can dress up a fish only so much without paying a price In a perfectly designed world one with no history we would not have to suffer everything from hemorrhoids to cancer That s a pretty punchy way of looking at things, and he tries to make good on the conclusions by diverse examples of diseases and problems with our bodies that reflect on its evolutionary history He just ran out of space in a 200 page book to do the subject justice Somehow I miss the creative ability of Lewis Thomas to highlight the concept of mitochondria as bacterial invaders enslaved in all cells with the sentence along the lines of I sometimes wonder whether I am taking my mitochondia for a walk or whether they are taking me for a walk Shubin just doesn t have such wonderful skill in writing Few do, and many readers can still learn much from a decent B lecturer If you have a semi extensive science background, you ll probably find this book annoyingly vague Lots of handwaving, little in the way of explanatory detail.If you re a fan of well written scientific prose, you ll definitely be driven around the bend The author was chosen to write this book because he made a terrific discovery in northern Canada a few years back a key missing link between fish and mammals not because he can write his way out of a wet paper bag Each chapter lunges hither If you have a semi extensive science background, you ll probably find this book annoyingly vague Lots of handwaving, little in the way of explanatory detail.If you re a fan of well written scientific prose, you ll definitely be driven around the bend The author was chosen to write this book because he made a terrific discovery in northern Canada a few years back a key missing link between fish and mammals not because he can write his way out of a wet paper bag Each chapter lunges hither and yon, little bits of distracting trivia are thrown in at random, and sequential thinking is fiercely avoided Typical chapter 1 Strained humorous anecdote2 Wannabe paradigm shifting question, dimly related to anecdote3 Assorted poor summaries of recent research4 Lame pun5 Handwaving6 Shocking answer to question Mammals are a lot like fish 7 Remember that joke I told Ha ha, right Your Inner Fish presents simply and straightforwardly a view of life that shows how much we are a part of this world no matter how much we want to think we are above it Shubin s easy going style with fascinating details is very engaging Beyond the structural and developmental similarities of different species outlined in the book, most compelling were the discussions of placing a gene from one species in the embryo of another that seems distantly related The results were startling For exampl Your Inner Fish presents simply and straightforwardly a view of life that shows how much we are a part of this world no matter how much we want to think we are above it Shubin s easy going style with fascinating details is very engaging Beyond the structural and developmental similarities of different species outlined in the book, most compelling were the discussions of placing a gene from one species in the embryo of another that seems distantly related The results were startling For example, a mouse gene for eye development placed in a fruit fly embryo caused normal fruit fly eyes to develop Evenamazing is that the gene Noggin from a sea anemone placed in a frog embryo had the same effect as the frog gene would It appears that all animals are made out of basically the same stuff I felt humbled and enlightened learning about my deep connection to nature Your Inner Fish is a wonderful book everyone can enjoy There are lots of titles out there in American bookstores that see the need to defend the idea of evolution from the claims of creationism and intelligent design But this book is not one of them Shubin assumes that you accept evolution to be a fact about the world and gets on with it He is a fish paleontologist who teaches anatomy to first year medical students at the University of Chicago If that sounds strange, it won t so much after you ve read his book Paleontology and comparative anato There are lots of titles out there in American bookstores that see the need to defend the idea of evolution from the claims of creationism and intelligent design But this book is not one of them Shubin assumes that you accept evolution to be a fact about the world and gets on with it He is a fish paleontologist who teaches anatomy to first year medical students at the University of Chicago If that sounds strange, it won t so much after you ve read his book Paleontology and comparative anatomy can tell us a lot about the human body, especially when it s backed up by molecular evidence in the DNA that we share with apes, fish, and even bacteria Although it s not directed at creationists, you may want to suggest this book to anyone who doubts evolution to be true yet hasn t taken the time to look into it It still amazes me when I hear people say, You know, after 150 years, they still haven t found one missing link People still say this In a way, this book is entirely about the missing links that some people haven t heard about For those who enjoyed the writings of paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, Steven Jay Gould, here is another master in communicating complex science to the lay person Neil Shubin has the smarts, the skills, the enthusiasm and the insights to enlighten us on the manner in which we humans are part of the world s amazing collection of life forms past and present.Gould taught at Harvard and was associated with the American Museum of Natural History In remarkable parallel construction, Shubin For those who enjoyed the writings of paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, Steven Jay Gould, here is another master in communicating complex science to the lay person Neil Shubin has the smarts, the skills, the enthusiasm and the insights to enlighten us on the manner in which we humans are part of the world s amazing collection of life forms past and present.Gould taught at Harvard and was associated with the American Museum of Natural History In remarkable parallel construction, Shubin who received his doctorate at Harvard has similar roles with the University of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History.Shubin s self imposed challenge is to explain how scientists can be so confident as they reconstruct relationships among long dead animals and the bodies and genes of recent ones Gould starts with an example of the relationships and hierarchies among creatures Everything with headsEverything with heads and limbsEverything with heads, limbs, breasts and hairEverything with heads, limbs, breasts, hair that walks on two legsHe then focuses on the common plan for limbs one bone, followed by two bones, then little blobs , then fingers or toes Pointing out that the differences between creatures lie in differences in the shapes and sizes of the bones and the number of blobs, fingers and toes He clearly lays out how the tools we now have allow us to explore and pin down relationships among creatures.I have to agree with the promo on the book s cover Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light Well done Update 12 2009 Shubin and I have just released 40 figures in this book as a deck of PowerPoint slides with the hopes that educators across the country will be able to use them in their lectures on evolution and biology They re available for free on the Tiktaalik website Hope they re useful Review from 12 2007 Keep an eye out for this book s release in January of 2008 I worked extensively with the author while he was writing it, and was constantly ent Update 12 2009 Shubin and I have just released 40 figures in this book as a deck of PowerPoint slides with the hopes that educators across the country will be able to use them in their lectures on evolution and biology They re available for free on the Tiktaalik website Hope they re useful Review from 12 2007 Keep an eye out for this book s release in January of 2008 I worked extensively with the author while he was writing it, and was constantly entertained by the content and the style Shubin skillfully uncovers the evidence for evolution we carry within our bodies every day, all the while weaving in personal anecdotes of adventures in the Arctic and self discovery in cadaver labs The book caters to a broad spectrum of folks from your average person who vaguely remembers reading a headline about some dinosaur find last week to the most dedicated science geek If you don t come away from the book with a greater appreciation of the profound connectedness of life, at least you ll gain an arsenal of fun facts to bust out at your next cocktail party Definitely a good read


About the Author: Neil Shubin

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into The 3.5 Billion Year History Of The Human Body book, this is one of the most wanted Neil Shubin author readers around the world.


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