This is an excellent book by paleontologist Neil Shubin. He talks about our evolutionary relationships with other species and how that ancestry effects us today. I enjoyed reading about our olfactory, skeletal, optic and hearing anatomy and physiology and how those systems evolved from primitive life forms. Shubin’s discussion of DNA and the fossil record were also enlightening.
Neil was part of the team that discovered Tiktaalik on Ellesmere Island in northern Canada. If ever there were a transitional fossil (a silly notion), Tiktaalik is it.
This is an easy read (took me about two days). I kept wondering how young-earth creationists could explain the overwhelming evidence without evolution over geologic timescales.
I particularly like this quote from the Epilogue (pg. 200).
The unknown should not be a source of suspicion, fear, or retreat to superstition, but motivation to continue asking questions and seeking answers.
Ever wonder why you’re fat, have hemorrhoids, hiccup and get twitchy eyes when you drink too much alcohol? The answers to these puzzlements and more are in the pages of this book. Ever wonder why your cranial nerve is such a mixed-up mess? Me, neither. But the answer is here, too.
The discussion about our embryonic development is quite fascinating. Cells start dividing and folding and clumping together until, well, you’re you. What makes skin smooth and not bumpy? How do all those skin cells communicate with each other to orchestrate the great endeavor we call you? What binds cells together and what is between them? See, now you want to run out and get your own copy, huh?