Dracil’s BlogJournal

May 9, 2008

Your Inner Fish

Filed under: Controversy, evolution, Reviews — Tags: , , , , — dracil @ 1:02 am

This is currently the best-selling book on Amazon in two different Evolution categories and Paleontology, and #554 overall at the moment.  Probably for good reason.  It’s written by Neil Shubin, one of the discoverers of the famous Tiktaalik.

The book isn’t about the Tiktaalik though, whose discovery is summarized in the first chapter.  Instead, it is used as a lead-in to describe the different ways that humans are similar to other animals, how this our structures evolved from these more primitive structures, and what effect that has on humans.

One of the nice things is how he describes the myriad of predictions scientists have made based on evolutionary theory, and how those predictions were all validated.  You can definitely learn a lot of things from this book, like how some of the bones in our ears are essentially modified fish and reptile jaw bones, and we can see this change through the fossil records.  Sometimes the imperfect nature of evolution leads to a flaws our body now have, like hiccups, which is because of our shared history with tadpoles (they need to inhale sharply and then close the glottis to prevent water from going in).

The book does become rather technical at times, but it should still be fairly readable for those without a biology background.  It was a pleasant surprise seeing some terms that I had completely forgotten about, such as the sonic hedgehog.

It’s a good book for those who simply want to gain a deeper understanding of their own bodies.  Also, while the book deals strictly with evolution, all the examples are a pretty heavy blow to Creationist claims that there is no evidence for evolution.  Nor can the examples be used to support an Intelligent Designer without also making this Intelligent Designer incredibly incompetent for being so inefficient and introducing so many flaws.  On the other hand, these flaws would make perfect sense in the evolutionary context of our inner fish.

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