Neil Shubin

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Neil Shubin
Shubin after speaking at the University of Tulsa
Born (1960-12-22) December 22, 1960 (age 62)
Alma materColumbia University (A.B.)
Harvard University (Ph.D.)
Known forDiscovery of Tiktaalik roseae
AwardsMiller Research Fellowship[1]
Guggenheim Fellowship[2]
National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Sciences 2015 Communication Award with Michael Rosenfeld and David Dugan in Film/Radio/TV for "Your Inner Fish"
Scientific career
FieldsEvolutionary biology
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Field Museum of Natural History
ThesisThe morphogenesis and origin of the skeletal pattern of the tetrapod limb (1987)

Neil Shubin (born December 22, 1960) is an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer. He is the Robert R. Bensley Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, Associate Dean of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and Professor on the Committee of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago along with being the Provost of the Field Museum of Natural History.[3] He is best known for his co-discovery of Tiktaalik roseae with Ted Daeschler and Farish Jenkins.[4]


Raised in Overbrook Hills section of Lower Merion Township[5] (contiguous to City of Philadelphia) and a graduate of Lower Merion High School,[6] Shubin earned a A.B. from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1982 and a Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University in 1987.[7] He also studied at the University of California, Berkeley.[8]

Shubin was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2011.

Shubin was ABC News' "Person of the Week" in April 2006 when Tiktaalik was unveiled,[9] and made appearances on The Colbert Report January 14, 2008 and January 9, 2013.[10]

The Communication Awards of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine awarded a $20,000 prize for excellence in communicating science to the general public to Michael Rosenfeld, David Dugan, and Neil Shubin in Film/Radio/TV on October 14, 2015, for Your Inner Fish.[11] The awards are given to individuals in four categories: books, film/radio/TV, magazine/newspaper and online, and are supported by the W. M. Keck Foundation. Neil Shubin hosted Your Inner Fish on PBS.[12] The show was produced by Windfall Films and Tangled Bank Studios, a production company for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that makes materials available for science classroom education.[13]

He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2017.[14] He also served as interim co-director of the Marine Biological Laboratory in 2017.[15]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2019, Shubin was named the recipient of the Roy Chapman Andrews Society Distinguished Explorer Award.[16] Shubin was chosen primarily because of his discoveries to understand the origin of organs in the human body and the connectiveness of all life.


  • Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body. New York: Pantheon Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0-375-42447-2
  • The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People. Pantheon Books, New York City 2013. ISBN 978-0-307-37843-9[17]
  • Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA. New York: Pantheon Books, 2020. ISBN 9781101871331


  1. ^ All Miller Fellows Sorted by Term (1987) Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Neil H. Shubin—John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Archived 2013-12-20 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Neil Shubin Home Page". The University of Chicago. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  4. ^ Daeschler, Edward B.; Shubin, Neil H.; Jenkins, Farish A. (2006-04-06). "A Devonian tetrapod-like fish and the evolution of the tetrapod body plan". Nature. 440 (7085): 757–763. Bibcode:2006Natur.440..757D. doi:10.1038/nature04639. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 16598249.
  5. ^ "A living fish has genetic clue to the past". Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  6. ^ "Stars of David Week of 5/17/12". 20 August 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  7. ^ Alonso, Nathalie (April 2011). "Go Fish - Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin'82 brings out the fish in all of us". Columbia College Today. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  8. ^ "Edge: NEIL SHUBIN". Archived from the original on 2013-12-21. Retrieved 2010-03-05.
  9. ^ Elizabeth Vargas (reporting), "Person of the Week: Neil Shubin", ABC News, April 7, 2006, retrieved April 8, 2012{{citation}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ "The Colbert Report | Comedy Central".
  11. ^ "2015 Communication Awards Ceremony by NAS-Webcast". The New Livestream. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  12. ^ Your Inner Fish Miniseries, retrieved November 8, 2022
  13. ^ "Classroom Resources for Your Inner Fish". Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Archived from the original on 2015-12-19. Retrieved 2014-04-26.
  14. ^ "American Philosophical Society: Newly Elected - April 2017". Archived from the original on 2017-09-15.
  15. ^ "UChicago Faculty Members to Serve on MBL Interim Leadership Team". Marine Biological Laboratory. Retrieved 2022-07-26.
  16. ^ "2019 Roy Chapman Andrews Society Distinguished Explorer Award". Roy Chapman Andrews Society.
  17. ^ Universe within, discovering common history, New York Journal of Books

External links[edit]