The mission of the Darwin Foundation in sponsoring International Darwin Day is to inspire people to reflect and act on intellectual bravery, to be perpetually curious and nourish the hunger for truth and scientific thinking that was embodied by the life and work of Charles Darwin.
You don’t need to believe in Darwin’s theory to join in the global celebration of science and humanity commemorated on Feb. 12th. But you do need to read Your Inner Fish on International Darwin Day.
Which brings us to fish!
Neil Shubin, a paleontologist who co-discovered Tiktaalik and wrote Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 million Year history of the Human body prompts the question, why do humans look the way we look?
Shubin’s expedition to the Arctic discovered fossils of the Tiktaalik. Shubin describes the expedition’s findings this way: “Most people do not know that finding fossils is something we can often do with surprising precision and predictability. We work at home to maximize the chances of success in the field. Then we let luck take over.”
The Tiktaalik is a fish like creature that has a rudimentary wrist. This blending of fish and tetrapod features has led scientists to suggest that the Tiktaalik is the missing link between the creatures of the sea and creatures that roamed the land.
In Your Inner Fish Shubin suggests that our hands, resemble fish fins and that our heads have similarities to long-extinct jawless fish. While parts of our genomes function like worms and bacteria. By describing the evolutionary origins of our bodies Shubin’s research examines the profound commonalities between humans and the entire spectrum of the world’s organisms.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean.net
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