Watch The Viruses That Make Us Human

Written by: The Exchange

The Viruses That Make Us Human and Other Surprises from 4 Billion Years of Evolution

Read this article about the event from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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. Our new view of 4 billion years of evolution is full of surprises. We have more viral DNA inside our own genome than our own genes. Genes at work in human memories and pregnancy were once viral invaders. DNA and fossils have opened up a surprising view of evolution. Discoveries of the past fifty years have revolutionized our understanding of how we got here. With insight into the latest DNA science and research into prehistoric fossils, paleontologist Neil Shubin will give us a window into a multibillion-year evolutionary history filled with twists and turns, trial and error, accident and invention.

Neil Shubin is the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of Anatomy at the University of Chicago, where he also serves as an associate dean. Educated at Columbia, Harvard, and the University of California at Berkeley, he lives in Chicago. He was host of the Emmy Award winning PBS miniseries “Your Inner Fish” which was based on his bestselling book of the same name. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2011.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.