Neil Shubin, a paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, takes viewers through the roots of human anatomy in 'Your Inner Fish' on PBS.
Ever since Charles Darwin made his way to the Galapagos, we've heard a lot about that fateful moment when some previously water-bound creature pulled itself up from the slowly receding seas, took a breath and began the eons-long march to humanity.
What we didn't know was what that creature looked like and how, specifically, it relates to us.
Based on the bestselling book of the same name, "Your Inner Fish" is a six-hour, three-part documentary determined to do just that. Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin, who wrote the book and hosts the series, is infectiously enthusiastic as he takes viewers on a tour of the human anatomy, its unexpected roots (subsequent episodes cover our inner reptile and our inner monkey), most important, and why they matter. The series premieres Wednesday on PBS.
"Your Inner Fish" concentrates on the miracle of the human hand, which is, as Shubin reminds us, the real basis of civilization. It also follows Shubin's personal quest to discover that missing link, the creature whose fins had developed the essential skeletal structure of a hand — one bone, two bones, a group of smaller bones — which made it capable of transitioning from water to land.
As with most discoveries of tremendous import, the search for the critter who would come to be known as Tiktaalik roseae was long and often tedious. Though it eventually took place in the wilds of Canada's Arctic, it was prefaced by years in the lab; even in the field, most of the labor was grueling, fastidious and, until it wasn't, fruitless.
Written By: Mary McNamara
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