Science and Nature

Your Inner Fish

How did your body become the complicated, quirky, amazing machine it is today? Anatomist Neil Shubin uncovers the answers in this new look at human evolution. Using fossils, embryos and genes, he reveals how our bodies are the legacy of ancient fish, reptiles and primates - the ancestors you never knew - are in your family tree.

Your Inner Monkey

54m 40s

Our primate progenitors had bodies a lot like those of modern monkeys and spent tens of millions of years living in trees. From them we inherited our versatile hands, amazing vision and capable brains — but also some less beneficial traits, including our bad backs and terrible sense of smell.

Episodes

  • Your Inner Monkey: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Your Inner Monkey

    S1 E3 - 54m 40s

    Our primate progenitors had bodies a lot like those of modern monkeys and spent tens of millions of years living in trees. From them we inherited our versatile hands, amazing vision and capable brains — but also some less beneficial traits, including our bad backs and terrible sense of smell.

  • Your Inner Reptile: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Your Inner Reptile

    S1 E2 - 54m 46s

    A key moment in our evolutionary saga occurred 200 million years ago, when the ferocious reptile-like animals that roamed the Earth were in the process of evolving into shrew-like mammals. But our reptilian ancestors left their mark on many parts of the human body, including our skin, teeth and ears.

  • Your Inner Fish: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Your Inner Fish

    S1 E1 - 55m 11s

    Our arms, legs, necks and lungs were bequeathed to us by a fish that lumbered onto land some 375 million years ago. The genetic legacy of this creature can be seen today in our own DNA, including the genes used to build our hands and limbs.

Extras + Features

  • Amazing Places, Amazing Fossils: Lucy: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Amazing Places, Amazing Fossils: Lucy

    S1 E3 - 4m 54s

    Fossils of human ancestors from millions of years ago can be found in the rocks of Ethiopia. Paleontologist Don Johanson recounts his discovery of one iconic fossil, and the impact it had on our understanding of where we come from.

  • The Human Hand: A Gift from Ancient Primates: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Human Hand: A Gift from Ancient Primates

    S1 E3 - 4m 26s

    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.

  • Meet Your Cousins: Squirrel Monkeys: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Meet Your Cousins: Squirrel Monkeys

    S1 E3 - 2m 5s

    Because of our evolutionary relationship, we have quite a bit in common with other living primates, including squirrel monkeys. See what we mean as you watch these agile monkeys navigate their forest world.

  • Ancient Human Ancestors: Walking in the Woods: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ancient Human Ancestors: Walking in the Woods

    S1 E3 - 3m 47s

    When did we start walking exclusively on two legs, and how did this transition take place? 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.

  • How Do We Know When Our Ancestors Lost Their Tails?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Do We Know When Our Ancestors Lost Their Tails?

    S1 E3 - 4m

    Unlike most other primates, apes don't have a tail. 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.

  • How Do We Know When Our Ancestors Lost Their Tails?

    S1 E3 - 4m

    Unlike most other primates, apes don't have a tail. 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.

  • The 500-Million-Year History of the Human Brain: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The 500-Million-Year History of the Human Brain

    S1 E3 - 3m 19s

    Even though your brain enables you to do some amazing things, its evolutionary story runs deep. Biologists Peter Holland and Neil Shubin go hunting for Amphioxus, a tiny, simple animal, whose genes show us just how ancient our brain truly is.

  • Episode 3: Your Inner Monkey Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Episode 3: Your Inner Monkey Preview

    S1 E3 - 30s

    "Your Inner Monkey" tracks our hands, feet, color vision, spine and upright gait to our primate and hominid progenitors, who also passed on perhaps the most important legacy of all: a path to the human brain.

  • The Human Hand: A Gift from Ancient Primates: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Human Hand: A Gift from Ancient Primates

    S1 E3 - 4m 26s

    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.

  • Amazing Places, Amazing Fossils: Lucy: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Amazing Places, Amazing Fossils: Lucy

    S1 E3 - 4m 54s

    Fossils of human ancestors from millions of years ago can be found in the rocks of Ethiopia. Paleontologist Don Johanson recounts his discovery of one iconic fossil, and the impact it had on our understanding of where we come from.

  • Ancient Human Ancestors: Walking in the Woods: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ancient Human Ancestors: Walking in the Woods

    S1 E3 - 3m 47s

    When did we start walking exclusively on two legs, and how did this transition take place? 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.

  • Meet Your Cousins: Squirrel Monkeys: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Meet Your Cousins: Squirrel Monkeys

    S1 E3 - 2m 5s

    Because of our evolutionary relationship, we have quite a bit in common with other living primates, including squirrel monkeys. See what we mean as you watch these agile monkeys navigate their forest world.

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