Synopses & Reviews
From one of our finest and most popular science writers, the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish
, comes the answer to a scientific mystery story as big as the world itself: How have astronomical events that took place millions of years ago created the unique qualities of the human species?
In his last book, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human anatomy — our hands, our jaws — and the structures in the fish that first took over land 375 million years ago. Now, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, he takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we are the way we are. Starting once again with fossils, Shubin turns his gaze skyward. He shows how the entirety of the universe's 14-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. From our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system), he makes clear, through the working of our eyes, how the evolution of the cosmos has had profound effects on the development of human life on earth.
"University of Chicago paleontologist Shubin wrote about the fishy origins of humanity in 2009's Your Inner Fish. In his new book, he goes farther back and further out, explaining how humans bear the markings of cosmic phenomena; as he puts it, 'Written inside us is the birth of the stars.' Here, the author surveys everything from glints in 'Greenlandic rocks' to the spreading signs of supernovae to reveal 'deep ties to the forces that shaped our bodies.' He demonstrates how mammals owe their 'high-energy lifestyle' to oxygen released hundreds of millions of years ago as continents spread apart, and how color vision arose after continental drift cooled the planet, diversified flora, and resulted in biological competition that favored those organisms who could identify nutritious plants according to hue ('Every time you admire a richly colorful view, you can thank India for slamming into Asia'). Shubin is a leading proponent of the fusion of paleontology, developmental genetics, and genomics, and the result of his efforts is a volume of truly inspired science writing. Appropriately vast in scope, Shubin deftly balances breadth and depth in his search for a 'sublimely beautiful truth.' Photos & illus. Agent: Katinka Matson, John Brockman, Max Brockman, and Russell Weinberger, Brockman Inc." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A truly delightful story of how human beings and life on Earth are connected to the wider universe. We don't observe reality from outside; we're embedded deeply within in it, and it shows. Neil Shubin is a sure-handed and entertaining guide to the big picture of how we came to be." Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist and author of The Particle at the End of the Universe
WITH BLACK-AND-WHITE LINE DRAWINGS THROUGHOUT
From one of our finest and most popular science writers, and the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery as big as the world itself: How are the events that formed our solar system billions of years ago embedded inside each of us?
In Your Inner Fish, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human bodies — our hands, heads, and jaws — and the structures in fish and worms that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. In The Universe Within, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, Shubin takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we look the way we do. Starting once again with fossils, he turns his gaze skyward, showing us how the entirety of the universe’s fourteen-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. As he moves from our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system) through the workings of our eyes, Shubin makes clear how the evolution of the cosmos has profoundly marked our own bodies.
About the Author
Neil Shubin is the author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish. He has been one of the major forces behind a new evolutionary synthesis of expeditionary paleontology, developmental genetics, and genomics. He and his colleagues made one of the most important fossils discoveries in the history of the National Geographic Society. Trained at Columbia, Harvard, and UC Berkeley, Shubin is currently associate dean of biological sciences at the University of Chicago.