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Author/scientist Neil Shubin to discuss remarkable discovery

September 26, 2010

Author/scientist Neil Shubin to discuss remarkable discovery


Neil Shubin

Neil Shubin, professor of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago and author of Your Inner Fish, this year's summer reading for the Class of 2104, will address the Skidmore community Monday, Sept. 27, in Ladd Concert Hall of the Zankel Music Center.   

Free and open to the public, the talk will begin at 8 p.m.

Shubin will speak about his discovery of Tiktaalik, the fossil that helped to bridge the evolutionary gap between fish and land creatures, including humans.   His talk, titled "Your Inner Fish," promises to be "a compelling and entertaining exploration of one of the most important discoveries in human history," said Beau Breslin, director of the First-Year Experience and assistant dean of the faculty.

In Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body (2008, Vintage Books), Shubin, who also is provost of the Field Museum in Chicago, writes about his discovery of Tiktaalik, the "fish with hands," and how such a discovery offers profound insights into the development of the human body. He uses stories (many of them personal), analogies, and metaphors to explain complex scientific experiments and findings. 

The book has earned considerable praise and media coverage.   It was the subject of a feature story that aired in July on NPR.   In addition, Shubin appeared in 2008 in a segment of The Colbert Report and also was interviewed on Quirks and Quarks .

The summer reading for Skidmore's first-year students is expected to be read prior to the students' arrival on campus. Throughout the year, there is ample opportunity to examine and discuss the issues raised by the reading.  Programming in connection with the summer reading often includes a visit by the author to Skidmore, as well as events that explore key themes presented by the reading.


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