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The Zoo of You

  • By Neil Shubin
  • Posted 10.26.09
  • NOVA

You may not feel much like a shark, fruit fly, or worm, but you share many aspects of your anatomy and physiology with these and all other animals on Earth. All the various bits and pieces of you–organs, bones, nerves, even your genes–show up in different but fundamentally similar forms in other animals, in some cases animals that lived half a billion years ago, revealing how all creatures on Earth, including you, are just variations on a theme.

Launch Interactive

In this interactive, see how closely parts of your body match those in other animals, from sharks to fruit flies.

Neil Shubin is professor of anatomy at the University of Chicago. This feature is adapted from Shubin's book Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Vintage, 2009). Illustrations are by Kalliopi Monoyios.

Credits

Image Credits

(embryo)
Public Domain
Embryo Images: (shark, fruit fly, worm)
illustrations by Kalliopi Monoyios, taken from Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Pantheon Books, 2008)
(body)
© Mario Castello/Corbis
Body images: (Tiktaalik, Pterosaur, sea anemone)
illustrations by Kalliopi Monoyios, taken from Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Pantheon Books, 2008)
(head)
© Adrianna Williams/Corbis
Head images:(ancient reptiles and fish, limpet, shark)
illustrations by Kalliopi Monoyios, taken from Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Pantheon Books, 2008)

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