Tuesdays at 1 p.m. on WV PBS
11:49 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Three-part Series Explores "Your Inner Fish"

Neil Shubin holding fossilized bones from Tiktaalik roseae in his lab at the University of Chicago.
Neil Shubin holding fossilized bones from Tiktaalik roseae in his lab at the University of Chicago.
Credit Courtesy of Nathaniel Chadwick ©Tangled Bank Studios, LLC

How did the human body become the complicated, quirky and amazing machine it is today? Your Inner Fish, this three-part series will air as part of West Virginia Public Broadcasting's instructional television service on Tuesdays at 1 p.m., beginning May 6.

This cutting-edge scientific adventure reveals a startling truth: hidden within the human body is a story of life on Earth, and the legacy of animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Based on the best-selling book by Neil Shubin, the series travels from Africa to the Arctic Circle to uncover the 3.5 billion year history of the human body — and how a colorful cast of ancient characters made us who we are today. 

The series is accompanied by an interactive discussion guide and lesson plan for educators available at West Virginia LearningMedia.

May 6: Your Inner Fish -- 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.

May 13: Your Inner Reptile -- 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.

May 20: Your Inner Monkey -- 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.