From Our “Inner Chimp” to our “Inner Fish”

Ear­li­er this week, we high­light­ed a great con­ver­sa­tion about whether we inher­it­ed moral­i­ty from our pri­mate ances­tors. It raised the ques­tion whether our “inner chimp” tells us what is right or wrong.

Now, to switch gears just a bit, we bring you an inter­view with Neil Shu­bin that delves into your “inner fish” (MP3iTunesFeedWeb Site). Shu­bin is the author of Your Inner Fish: A Jour­ney into the 3.5‑Billion-Year His­to­ry of the Human Body, and here he talks about how var­i­ous parts of the human body (our hands and head, for exam­ple) evolved from the anato­my of ancient fish and oth­er long extinct crea­tures. What this goes to show is that “our human­i­ty, … which makes us so unique … is real­ly built by bits and pieces shared with every­thing we call worms, jel­ly­fish, sponges, and so forth.” “The utter­ly unique and beau­ti­ful can be made from some­thing very com­mon.” And there’s some­thing aes­thet­i­cal­ly beau­ti­ful about that.

Shu­bin, I should men­tion, made head­lines in 2006 when he and a team of sci­en­tists revealed the dis­cov­ery of Tik­taa­lik roseae, a 375 mil­lion year old fos­sil that cap­tures the moment when sea crea­tures made their tran­si­tion to land. Good stuff.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.