Your Inner Fish

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Explore these exciting clips, interactives, and teaching resources from the new hit PBS show Your Inner Fish, the revolutionary new perspective on natural history and evolution science. Join up with host and paleobiologist Neil Shubin to look for clues inside the human body that help answer questions about our ancient past, spanning from our primate relatives to our prehistoric fishy ancestors. You'll never think about the human body the same way again!

  • Explore Your Inner Animals | Your Inner Fish

    Dive inside the human body with this interactive experience from Your Inner Fish, and discover how our bodies hold the clues to the history of human evolution. Explore how the biology of our eyes, hands, brains and more have each evolved to make us uniquely human, while at the same time unveiling the astonishing similarities that we still hold with the rest of the animal kingdom.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Lesson Guide | Your Inner Fish

    This lesson plan pairs with the interactive guide to human evolution from Your Inner Fish. Using a collection of images and videos from the PBS program, students will experience a very immersive and visually captivating journey through some of the most significant advances of human evolution. By using evidence from paleontology, genetics, ecology and anthropology, Your Inner Fish offers a detailed and colorful history of evolution through common decent. 

    Grades: 6-12
  • What Can Fossil Teeth Tell Us? | Your Inner Fish

    Much of our understanding of evolutionary biology comes from teeth, a primary source of evidence in the fossil record. You may not think there's much insight to be gleaned from a tooth, but paleontologist Neil Shubin shows us that's not the case. As he demonstrates with a collection of skeletons, teeth contain an incredible amount of information about how an animal lives its life.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Evolution of Your Teeth | Your Inner Fish

    Explore the evolution of human teeth, and the historical fossil evidence that shows where our teeth may have come from. The molars, incisors and canines that fill your mouth have a deep evolutionary history. Join paleontologists Roger Smith and Neil Shubin as they trace the history of your teeth back to fearsome beasts that lived over 200 million years ago.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Bipedalism: The Evolution of Back-Aches | Your Inner Fish

    The process of human bipedal evolution holds many mysteries of modern human posture. The shape of our backs keeps us balanced when we walk on two legs, but the benefit of bipedalism comes at a cost. Anatomist Bruce Latimer shows how our transition to being exclusively bipedal has led to many common back ailments.

    Grades: 6-12
  • When Humans Lost Their Tails | Your Inner Fish

    By looking at our vestigial tailbone—the coccyx—we can trace back the history of human and primate evolution. Unlike all other primates, apes don't have a tail, but when did our ancestors lose this potentially useful appendage? Paleoanthropologist Holly Dunsworth introduces Neil Shubin to Proconsul, a fossil ape that provides some answers to that question.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Our Fishy Brain | Your Inner Fish

    The similarities between human and shark brains show the evolutionary origin of the mammalian nervous system. While the human brain is exceptional in many ways, the truth is that it has some striking similarities with the brains of many other animals, including fish. Anatomist Neil Shubin dissects a fish brain and a human brain and shows us how much we have in common with our sea-dwelling cousins.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The 500 Million-Year History of Brains | Your Inner Fish

    The nervous systems of even the simplest organisms can demonstrate the most significant genetic and developmental qualities of the human brain. Our brain enables us to do some amazing things, so it's not surprising that its evolutionary story runs deep. Biologists Peter Holland and Neil Shubin go hunting for amphioxus, a tiny, wormlike animal, whose genes show us the ancient roots of our brain.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Ancient History of the Human Hand | Your Inner Fish

    Investigating the skeletal structure of hands and arms across the entire animal kingdom helps demonstrate evolution through common decent. Anatomist and paleontologist Neil Shubin has long been inspired by the hand's architecture and abilities. He traces this quintessentially human feature back in time to when our ancestors were fish living at the water's edge.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Ancient Hands, Ancient Tools | Your Inner Fish

    Paleontologists see the discoveries of ancient tools as a window into the functional evolution of early human hands. After searching for some of the first stone tools made by our ancestors, Neil Shubin pays a visit to paleoanthropologist Tracy Kivell, who shows him how changes in the hands of our ancestors led to the ability to create and use tools.

    Grades: 6-12
  • A Handy Gift from Ancient Primates | Your Inner Fish

    The history of early primate evolution can tell us amazing detail about the function of our human hands today. Our hand has the same basic form as the hands of all other primates, but what did the earliest version of this hand look like? Neil Shubin pays a visit to Jon Bloch, who shows him a remarkable fossil of Notharctus, an early primate with a hand that you may recognize.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Do We Listen With Our Jaw Bones? | Your Inner Fish

    Discover the amazing process of evolution behind the structure of mammalian ears. Our ears are much more sensitive than those of most reptiles, but where did these bones come from? Evolutionary biologists Karen Sears and Neil Shubin show us evidence of their connection to the bones of ancient reptilian jaws.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Walking in the Woods | Your Inner Fish

    Learn about the fossil discoveries that allowed experts to piece together the history of bipedality in human evolution. Neil Shubin pays a visit to Tim White and Owen Lovejoy, two anthropologists working together to understand "Ardi," a 4.4-million-year-old fossil that sheds light on our transition to bipedalism.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Finding the Origins of Color Vision | Your Inner Fish

    Take a look inside the origins of color vision, and the adaptive evolution of sight all throughout the primate kingdom. The ability to see the world in color is one most people take for granted, but our earliest primate ancestors lacked this ability. When and how did we gain the ability to see the world the way we do? Neil Shubin pays a visit to vision expert Jay Neitz to learn where our color vision comes from.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Primate Brain | Your Inner Fish

    This image shows the similarities between our human brains and the brains of our ancestors. However, it's the differences in our neural makeup that makes us such a unique species. As an infant, the human brain actually resembles the primate brain quite closely, but as we grow and are shaped by our environment, the brain rewires to adapt new skills and patterns of thought. The part of our brain responsible for higher thought functions—the cortex—contains more neurons than any other animal on the planet (16 billion of them!) which enable us to synthesize much more advanced connections within our brain. It's these innumerable connections that makes our minds uniquely human.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Missing Link: Ardipithecus | Your Inner Fish

    Anthropologists have used the skeletal remains of our ancestors to fill in the missing gaps between modern humans and chimpanzees. Contrary to the common theory, and using new evidence from a species of 4.4 million-year old human ancestor called Ardipithecus ramidus, scientists now know that early humans began walking in forested environments rather than on savannah plains. Ardi is a controversial discovery, and since they grew to only four feet tall, some scientists believe the species was more of an extinct lineage of ape, rather than a true human ancestor.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • What did Lucy look like? | Your Inner Fish

    This is an artist's depiction of Lucy, the iconic Austropithecus afarensis fossil and one of the most significant finds in the field of biological anthropology. Lucy was discovered in 1974, and her species dates to 3.2 million years old. Lucy's species was among the first to walk like a modern human, and their fossils give scientists detailed evidence about what our ancient ancestors may have looked like.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Walking like a Human | Your Inner Fish

    These two images from Your Inner Fish show the difference between chimpanzee and hominid walking patterns — one major step in our human evolution. Chimpanzees walk with their knees directly below their hips, giving them a waddling gait. Hominids like the Australopithecus afarensis (a species known for the famous "Lucy" skeleton) walked with their knees tucked inward, giving them a more energy efficient stride. We humans walk the same way that Lucy did 3.2 million years ago.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Early Evolution of the Human Hand | Your Inner Fish

    From fossil evidence, scientists have been able to recreate the Notharctus, a 50 million-year old primate relative and a keystone in the story of human evolution. It's skeletal structure shows us that the earliest primates were climbers, just like modern monkeys, adapted to live in the trees. The structure of the hand, in particular, shows a remarkable similarity to our own human bodies as well.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Evolution of Ears | Your Inner Fish

    This tiny animal is a Hadrocodium; a window into the evolution of our modern ears. Some time between our reptile and mammal ancestors, bones from the jaw slowly migrated up into developing ears, forming the structure that we humans live with today. The Hadrocodium, dating about 195 million years ago, was a species with jaw bones part-way through their reallignment into the ear. Along with specialized teeth and a fur coat, the Hadrocodium is considered one of the world's first mammals.

    Grades: 6-12

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