Your Inner Fish

Your Inner Fish

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 10:00pm

Pictured: Neil Shubin in The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago.

Credit: Courtesy of Nathaniel Chadwick ©Tangled Bank Studios, LLC

Why does the human body look the way it does? Why do our hands have five fingers instead of six? Why do we walk on two legs instead of four? It took more than hundreds of millions of years for the human body to take shape. Your Inner Fish explores the science of how the human body became the complicated, quirky, amazing machine it is today. Produced by Tangled Bank Studios and Windfall Films, the series is hosted by leading paleobiologist Dr. Neil Shubin and based on his best-selling book of the same name. Your Inner Fish, airing Wednesdays, April 9-23, 2014 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV, reveals a startling truth: Hidden within the human body is a history of life on Earth. 

Episode descriptions and air dates:

“Your Inner Fish” – Wednesday, April 9, 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV
Our arms, legs, necks, and lungs were bequeathed to us by a fish that lumbered onto land some 375 million years ago. The genetic legacy of this creature can be seen today in our own DNA, including the genes used to build the quintessentially human feature, our hands.

“Your Inner Reptile” – Wednesday, April 16, 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV
Key events in our evolutionary saga began about 250 million years ago, when ferocious, reptile-like animals that roamed the Earth started the process of evolving into shrew-like mammals. Our reptilian ancestors left their mark on many parts of the human body, including our skin, teeth, and ears.

“Your Inner Monkey” – Wednesday, April 23, 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV
Our primate progenitors had bodies a lot like those of modern monkeys and spent tens of millions of years living in trees. From them we inherited our versatile hands, amazing vision, and capable brains — but also some less beneficial traits, including our bad backs and terrible sense of smell.