Gina Hebert, MBL
Melissa Mills, PBS
MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—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? Tangled Bank Studios and PBS invite the public to a free screening of new three-part series YOUR INNER FISH, hosted by the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) on Wednesday, April 2 at 12:00 PM in the MBL’s Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole. The screening of part one of the series titled, “Your Inner Fish,” will be followed by an audience Q&A with series host paleobiologist Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago.
Premiering on PBS Wednesday, April 9, the series 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 based on Shubin’s best-selling book of the same name. Taking viewers on a cutting-edge scientific adventure, YOUR INNER FISH reveals a startling truth: hidden within the human body is a history of life on Earth.
The evolution of humans can be traced into the distant past, to the earliest forms of animal life on water and land. Each of us carries the genetic imprint of creatures that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. From those creatures, we inherited our most remarkable features as well as quirks like bad backs and hernias. Each episode of YOUR INNER FISH assembles evidence from comparative anatomy, fossils, genetics and embryology to explore why we’re built the way we are.
“I have always been curious about the surprising ways our distant ancestors have shaped our anatomy and why we are built the way we are today,” said Shubin. “I look forward to taking viewers on this exciting journey to meet these creatures that provide the powerful insight into the human body in April on PBS.”
This scientific adventure story takes viewers from Ethiopia to the Arctic Circle on a hunt for the many ways that our animal ancestors shaped our anatomical destiny. Host Shubin has spent much of his life studying our ancient ancestors — searching for the deep pedigree of Homo sapiens. Using both the fossil record and DNA evidence, he traces various parts of the human body’s structure to creatures that lived long ago. Along the way, he makes it clear that we can thank our “fishy” origins for many human characteristics.
YOUR INNER FISH is produced by Tangled Bank Studios in collaboration with award-winning producer David Dugan, founder of the U.K.-based production company Windfall Films. Shubin’s book, Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body, was published in 2009. Shubin is an American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, a professor at the University of Chicago, and a former provost of the Field Museum of Natural History.
“Your Inner Fish” – Wednesday, April 9, 10:00p.m. – 11:00p.m. ET
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, 10:00p.m. – 11:00p.m. ET
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, 10:00p.m. – 11:00p.m. ET
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.
As part of an extensive educational outreach plan, Tangled Bank Studios is creating an interactive learning resource that will allow students to explore the origins and morphology of seven human anatomical features, including the evolutionary genetics and comparative anatomy behind those features. Each anatomical feature will be explained through video clips, graphics and text elements. These classroom resources, along with an in-depth Teacher Guide will be available through PBS LearningMedia and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s BioInteractive website.
The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution and an affiliate of the University of Chicago