Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Bioscience Education (pdf)
James Richardson
Afarensis
Adaptive Complexity
epjournal.net (pdf)
Stereodax

Neil Shubin

Your Inner Fish

The study of ancient fossils may seem somewhat remote from our everyday lives, but Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body Neil Shubin shows how such study can reveal important information about our origins and how our bodies work.

Shubin discusses several ways of gettting at this information. Comparisons with other animals demonstrates the similarities in the body structures of different species. With some animals it is possible to make alterations to the embryo and see what effect this has as it develops. And of course there is Shubin's own speciality, the study of fossils. He tells of his trips to remote places - well as remote as funds will allow - and how years of searching are made worthwhile by one groundbreaking discovery. The book tells of how different parts of our anatomy, such as hands, teeth, or the head, have developed from structures in earlier species. There are also chapters on how the senses of smell, vision and hearing have developed.

I felt that the book showed the reader some of the excitement of tracing the history of our bodies further and further back in time, but not enough to make it into a gripping read. So the book is certainly worth reading if you want to find out more about the subject, and it's made it to the shortlist of 2009 Royal Society Prize for Science Books, but I wouldn't tip it as the final winner.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 0307277453
Salesrank: 20301
Weight:0.5 lbs
Published: 2009 Vintage
Amazon price $10.87
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 0141027584
Salesrank: 82165
Weight:0.26 lbs
Published: 2009 Penguin
Amazon price £9.99
Marketplace:New from £5.61:Used from £2.81
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 0307277453
Salesrank: 111026
Weight:0.5 lbs
Published: 2009 Vintage
Amazon price CDN$ 18.30
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 14.42:Used from CDN$ 0.73
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Product Description

Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells the story of our bodies as you've never heard it before. The basis for the PBS series.

By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm.