“Your Inner Fish,” UChicago biologist Neil Shubin’s new TV series about the evolutionary links between humans and our oldest ancestors, debuts tonight on PBS at 8 pm CST. Last week at an advance screening of the first episode, Prof. Shubin sat down for a Q&A with Lance Grande, distinguished service curator at the Field Museum, and answered questions from the audience about the show. You can listen to the complete conversation in a special edition of our podcast:
If you can’t tell, we’re pretty excited about the show, and it’s generated a lot of buzz elsewhere in the run up to tonight’s premiere. The Washington Post and USA Today previewed the series, and the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Johnson spent the day with him as he taught his comparative biology class on human anatomy to UChicago undergrads. Earlier this week Claudia Dreifus from the New York Times spoke to Shubin about his work and why he wants to tell the story of evolution this way. In our favorite part of the interview, he talks about the show’s effect on his dad, a fiction writer who is somewhat averse to science:
A few weeks ago, I brought my parents a screener of “Your Inner Fish.” When my dad, who is 92, saw it, I think he really understood what I’ve been trying to do with my books and this series: bring complex ideas to a broad audience. All these years, I’ve been going off to the Arctic and he never quite understood why. It came together in a way that fit: the experiments, the trips, the fossils. He was blown away.
You can find out more about one of Prof. Shubin’s most recent discoveries about the hind limbs of our ancient fishy ancestors here on Science Life.