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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a truly great book!
(from my amazon.com review)

This is the most enjoyable book I've read on evolution since Gould's fine Wonderful Life. Shubin not only combines great skills in paleontology and anatomy with an insatiable curiosity, but he also has a rare gift at writing as well. The book looks at aspects of human anatomy and senses--hands, smell, hearing, vision, etc--and traces...
Published on 24 Jan 2008 by David W. Straight

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An accessible exposition, not quite chewy enough for me.
Shubin's team spent several summers in the frozen north looking for fossils of creatures that were evolving to live on land. Ultimately they discovered an exciting fossil called Tiktaalik, whose skull is flat like a reptile's and whose limbs begin to resemble those of many lineages, including mammals and thus humans. After describing this expedition and the predictive...
Published on 9 July 2011 by Jason Mills


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on evolution since the selfish gene, 27 April 2009
This review is from: Your Inner Fish: The amazing discovery of our 375-million-year-old ancestor (Paperback)
Mr Shubin has holistically wound together the many strands of palentolgy, genetics, and anatomy, to bring us a unified picture of evolution beautifully illustrated by the countless images used throughout the book.

I can't give this book justice with this review, but suffice to say that most chapters contain a WOW moment where cobwebs in your brain are brushed away.

Excellent material for fighting the good fight (ie, against creationalism).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, up there with the best of 'em, 4 Aug 2008
By 
Newbonic (Yorkshire, England.) - See all my reviews
I've read quite a few books on evolution from the like of Dawkins and Andrew Parker and this is up there with the best of them. Makes me wish I did biology at uni instead of materials science!
A great read both for the story about the fossil collecting expeditions, and general evolution.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read - adventure and science combined, 2 Jun 2008
This book is easy to understand for every layperson and could be used even for teenager to understand the development of evolution and the effects on the human body.
Neil Shubin describes a nice mix of adventure story during excavation journeys into the Canadian artic, and how to search targeted fossils expected in geological strata of 375 million years finally yielded the Tiktaalik fossils. He shows how the work of geologist is the basis for paleontologist fossil hunters to allow structured search and digging.

The description and explanation of the fossils he found, especially the link of fish to land animals are shown using the evolution of limbs are easy to understand without deep knowledge of paleontology or anatomy.
Also the building plan of the human body as a result of the evolutionary history can be traced all the way back to the body plan of fish as Shubin shows.
So the bad design of the human body can be perfectly explained by evolution, just what you would expect if there is no Intelligent Design used for the human body.
Also another alleged `missing link' of the fossil record from fish to land animals is closed with Tiktaalik.

I hope some day `Your Inner Fish' will be published as paperback in Europe as well, to make it available to a wider audience which it deserves.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight but worthwhile, 3 Oct 2008
By 
Steve Keen "therealus" (Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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Whilst always very readable, there's something just a little unsatisfying about Neil Shubin's exploration of the evolution of the body up to the one currently occupied by homo sapiens. I think ultimately because it comes over as a little too lightweight, even though the subject is overwhelmingly big.

Nevertheless, there is no denying, ultimately, the level of fascination in the material.

It is, of course, not always comforting to find that, once analysed, human beings are based on the same blueprint as any other animal with a head (and anus, as it happens - Shubin seems to take delight in repeating the word) and some without, where mouth and anus (there it is again!) combine, as in the sea anemone.

Through words and pictures the author demonstrates the similarities between your nearest and dearest and sharks, salamanders, flies and all sorts of other creatures you normally wouldn't be inviting to a family reunion. There's an inevitable quantity of technical vocabulary, but it's never in torrents so it never overwhelms.

So whilst a trifle unsatisfactory as heavyweight Natural History, the book has more than enough going for it to recommend it to the general reader.

Post Script

Some way through the book I will admit to reflecting on first its potential as a treatise on evolution, but then second on the potential it holds for the Intelligent Design lobby - basic blueprint, materials reuse, continuous development.

Shubin doesn't tackle this, which is a shame; I'm reminded of the misuse of Nietzsche under different circumstances and wonder at the naļveté of it all. The ID myth is, of course, nothing more than that, but why give it a potential scientific credence?

A brief check confirms that Shubin is in the evolutionary camp, but that does not dispel some of the ambiguity of Inner Fish, with mentions of the Creator (his capital), no small amount of teleology (suggesting on a number of occasions that species determined for themselves in what direction to develop), and the suggestion that a basic "design" "arose" rather than that a pattern evolved - incredibly there is not much mention of the word "evolution".

In a period during which the forces of reaction are trying their best to roll back the gains of evolutionary science in dispelling superstition, it seems irresponsible to provide them with an open goal.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tiktataalikin good, 14 Jan 2009
Decent enough book by one of the co-discoverers of the famous fossil, Tiktaalik, which tells a little of the story of it's discovery and why it was such an important find. However, interesting though it is, this book isn't solely about Tiktaalik. Rather, the author uses it as a jumping off point to examine various features and quirks of the human body and how they can be explained from our knowledge of embryology, paleontology and genetics as consequences of our ancient ancestry.

It's a well written book by an author who clearly enoys what he does and is an entertaining and informative read. Possibly a little bit lightweight for the money as others have commented - but then as I borrowed it from my local library, there are no complaints from me on that score!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Shubin describes the link which joins all living creatures - a very humbling experience, 11 April 2013
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I found this one of the most intriguing books I have ever read. The idea that as humans we have an ancestry which stretches back to the beginning of life on earth as demonstrated by fossil links and supported by DNA, gives a deep value to the understanding of our inner beliefs. So many interesting subjects are raised. For example I swim for pleasure and fitness and was amazed to discover that fish fins and our four limbs share a similar architecture through their bone structure. How fins become limbs is just one of the
fascinating insights bought to life in this eminently readable book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your Inner Fish, 14 Dec 2011
This review is from: Your Inner Fish: The amazing discovery of our 375-million-year-old ancestor (Paperback)
A masterful book, superbly and concisely written. Neil Shubin takes his readers through the evolutionary history of humans and draws a compelling picture of how we got to where we are today. He uses his discovery of the spectacular intermediate fossils of Tiktaalik rosae to set the ball rolling, and Tiktaalik features regularly throughout the story.

This book should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the origins and history of life on earth. I wish I had been taught by someone with Shubin's enthusiasm and communication skills
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read and a good gift book, 14 Oct 2011
This review is from: Your Inner Fish: The amazing discovery of our 375-million-year-old ancestor (Paperback)
If you've never read a book about evolution and/or palaeontology in the popular science genre, this would be a good place to start.

If you've already read several such books, you'll probably still find interesting things that you didn't already know.

If you know anyone who doesn't believe in evolution or who says "well, maybe, but where's the missing link?", this would make an excellent gift because the evidence presented here about fish, humans, and various intermediate creatures speaks for itself. For this purpose, it might even be better than books by Dawkins because Shubin isn't pugnacious and only explicitly mentions the concept of descent with modification near the end of the book. By then, intelligent readers not already familiar with this concept should have started to get the idea for themselves.

I do have two quibbles about this book. Firstly, it keeps jumping between descriptions of scientific discoveries and tales of the involvement of the author and his colleagues in those discoveries. Of course, it's important to know how scientists make their discoveries as well as what they have discovered, in order to be able to judge the credibility of the findings. But I would prefer the method to be explained in a more impersonal way, for consistency of tone.

Secondly, more detail is needed in some places. Clearly, the author wants to keep it simple in order to appeal to newbies, and this is a laudable aim. But I think that there are a few places where the addition of just a little bit more background information might actually make it easier for newbies to follow the discussion (for example, in the section on mitochondria). Nonetheless, I think that most people will get the gist and much of the detail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 18 Feb 2011
This review is from: Your Inner Fish: The amazing discovery of our 375-million-year-old ancestor (Paperback)
This is a great little book that examines humanity's ancient ancestors. No we are not descended from monkeys (I hate it when I hear that), if you go far enough backwards we have rather more fishy ancestors. And Shubin describes the fossil of the creature that stands between the fish and the first land living creatures. I did enjoy reading about the discovery of the fossil in the Arctic, which gives you an insight into the life of a Paleontologist.

Equally intruiging are the sections on genes, especially the Sonic Hedgehog gene. Shubin actually does have lab experience and so his insights into this aspect are fascinating. He goes on to describe our fishy origins and how we got our basic body plan, teeth, ears and vision from primitive ancestors etc. The best thing are the crystal clear images which makes his points come alive.

Well worth a read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars basic comparative biology goes chatty, 22 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Your Inner Fish: The amazing discovery of our 375-million-year-old ancestor (Paperback)
It's hard to find a good balance between everyday language and scientific terminology, between explaining too much and not enough, between making it fun (in case your audience is scared of science?) and wasting too many words round the edges.

I think this was a fairly good attempt. Perhaps Shubin could have tried just a little less hard to please. His topic is fascinating, the facts stunning and well presented. If he had left them to speak for themselves, the impact would have been stronger.

That said, and although I sometimes wished he would get on with it, the anecdotes were well chosen and provided a good view of the excitement involved in field paleontology and scientific discovery in general. Overall, a good read.
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