Chapter 1 – Finding Your Inner Fish
Explain why the author and his colleagues chose to focus on 375 million year old rocks in their search for fossils. Be sure to include the types of rocks and their location during their paleontology work in 2004.
Describe the fossil Tiktaalik. Why does this fossil confirm a major prediction of paleontology?
Explain why Neil Shubin thinks Tiktaalik says something about our own bodies? (in other words – why the Inner Fish title for the book?)
Chapter 2 – Getting a Grip
Describe the “pattern” to the skeleton of the human arm that was discovered by Sir Richard Owen in the mid-1800s. Relate this pattern to his idea of exceptional similarities.
How did Charles Darwin’s theory explain these similarities that were observed by Owen?
What did further examination of Tiktaalik’s fins reveal about the creature and its lifestyle?
Chapter 3 – Handy Genes
Many experiments were conducted during the 1950s and 1960s with chick embryos and they showed that two patches of tissue essentially controlled the development of the pattern of bones inside limbs. Describe at least one of these experiments and explain the significance of the findings.
Describe the hedgehog gene using several animal examples. Be sure to explain its function and its region of activity in the body.
Chapter 4 – Teeth Everywhere
Teeth make great fossils – why are they “as hard as rocks?” What are conodonts?
Shubin writes that “we would never have scales, feathers, and breasts if we didn’t have teeth in the first place.” Explain what he means by this statement.
Chapter 5 – Getting Ahead
Why are the trigeminal and facial cranial nerves both complicated and strange in the human body?
List the structures that are formed from the four embryonic arches (gill arches) during human development.
What are Hox genes and why are they so important?
Amphioxus is a small invertebrate yet is an important specimen for study – why? Be sure to include characteristics that you share with this critter!