Some Assembly Required

Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA

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About The Book

Some Assembly Required is a lively and accessible guide to the most momentous transformations in the history of life – the evolution of fish into land-dwelling creatures, the origins of birds, how life took the first step from single-celled organisms towards complex beings with bodies. It is also a story that is full of surprises. If you think that feathers arose to help animals fly, or lungs to help animals walk on land, you’d be in good company. You’d also be entirely wrong.

Neil Shubin delves deep into the mystery of life, describing how discoveries of the past fifty years have revolutionised our understanding of how we got here, and brought us closer to answering one of the great questions of science – was life on earth inevitable or is it an accident that we are here at all?

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (March 19, 2020)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781786078025

Raves and Reviews

Praise for Your Inner Fish

‘This would be Darwin’s book of the year’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Stunning case histories…dazzling work’ Guardian

‘Will make you think about your organs in ways you have never considered before’ Sunday Times

‘Profoundly fascinating…a magisterial work…expressed so clearly and with such good humour’ Financial Times

‘An intelligent, exhilarating, and compelling scientific adventure story, one which will change forever how you understand what it means to be human’ Oliver Sacks

‘Delightful… His enthusiasm is infectious’ Steven D. Levitt, author of Freakonomics

‘A welcome new exploration of the evolution of human and animal life on Earth… Shubin explores it with his characteristic enthusiasm and clarity… A fascinating wild ride through the mechanics of evolution.’

– Kirkus

‘A welcome new exploration of the evolution of human and animal life on Earth… Shubin explores it with his characteristic enthusiasm and clarity… A fascinating wild ride through the mechanics of evolution.’

– Kirkus

'Neil Shubin has been one of my favourite science communicators ever since I took his undergraduate anatomy course. In this ambitious and readable book, Shubin blends his own research, epic tales from the history of science, and the latest discoveries in palaeontology and genetics to tackle some of the biggest mysteries of evolution. This is an engrossing account from a scientific storyteller at the height of his talents.'

– Steve Brusatte, University of Edinburgh palaeontologist and author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

‘Shubin’s … exhilarating excursion into the ways of evolution… Shubin isn’t the most prolific popular-science writer, but he is one of the best.’

– Booklist

'Making complex scientific ideas both accessible to and enjoyable for the general public is a rare skill, but one that Shubin (Your Inner Fish) ... has mastered in his eloquent survey.'

...

'This superb primer brings the intellectual excitement of the scientific endeavor to life in a way that both educates and entertains.'

– Publishers Weekly

'Through tales of remarkable creatures, and some even more remarkable people who study them, Neil Shubin unravels the mystery at the heart of evolution — how nature invents.

From bacteria to brains, fish lungs to ballistic salamander tongues, Shubin decodes the surprising origins of the marvelous gadgets that have driven the riot of life’s diversity.'

– Sean B. Carroll, author of The Serengeti Rules and Brave Genius

‘Shubin is not only a distinguished scientist, but a wonderfully lucid and elegant writer; he is an irrepressibly enthusiastic teacher…a science writer of the first rank.’

– Oliver Sacks

‘A magical storyteller.’

– Richard Hamblyn

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