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University of Chicago Prof Tackles Evolution in 'Your Inner Fish' on PBS

By Sam Cholke | March 28, 2014 10:11am
Your Inner Fish
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HYDE PARK — Humans and fish have more in common than you think.

That's according to University of Chicago professor Neil Shubin, who has a new show on PBS about how the human body is a version of a fancy fish.

Shubin, a professor of organismal biology and anatomy and the author of “Your Inner Fish,” will celebrate the premiere of the his new series of the same name with a preview screening at 6:30 p.m. on April 3 at the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.

In the three-part series premiering on April 9, Shubin riffs on the moments when humans split off from other species during our evolution and the components of our bodies that still show our remarkable similarities to long distant ancestors like fish.

“This is the great history of the human body three-and-a-half million years in the making,” Shubin said.

He said the show was unscripted and he talked about the ideas from his 2008 book for about 50 hours during filming in his apartment on Dorchester Avenue, walking around the University of Chicago campus and at Millennium Park.

“It’s a very Chicago show,” Shubin said. “Chicago is the backdrop for almost the entire show.”

The live shots were cut down to less than three hours and are interspersed with animations that Shubin said help tell a very long and complicated story in a way that he never could writing a book.

“You have an opportunity to use really amazing graphics to tell a story,” Shubin said, adding that the animations are able to bring long extinct creatures back to life. “There’s something really powerful about that.”

Shubin and Lance Grande, a curator of geology at the Field Museum, will discuss the show after the screening on April 3.