Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads

#StevesLibrary

#StevesLibrary: Your Inner Fish

Note: Hi everyone, sorry for the lack of posts recently – I’ve just started my PhD fieldwork and so I’ve been quite busy with that and a few other things. Don’t worry though, I will now be blogging again on a regular basis and hopefully there will be some great content on the way!

The subject of Your Inner Fish is in the title, the book explains how you can trace back the biological traits that we share with our fish ancestors. Shubin was part of the team that discovered Tiktaalik – one of the earliest tetrapods that we can be sure is one of our distant ancestors. Despite the fact that the concept is not entirely new to anyone who has studied zoology or anatomy, it is delivered in a very fresh and accessible way due to Shubin’s writing style. It can be quite chatty and is fully of anecdotes that help to immerse the reader in the narrative.

The importance of all of this is clear, Shubin wants the reader to appreciate and respect the fossil amphibian fins and other prehistoric features that can be seen in our own bodies. The book demonstrates how anatomical features are produced and handed down to new species via natural selection. Evolution is a very powerful tool and most species all share similar features which was first recognised by the zoological giant Georges Cuvier.

Without spoiling the book too much, I’d highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in zoology, palaentology and anatomy.

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