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.