Heackel's embryos: fraud

McCarrick, Allan (MCCARRIC@mailgate.navsses.navy.mil)
Wed, 26 Nov 1997 14:05 EST

The 9/5/97 issue of SCIENCE (vol 277, p. 1435) reported that the drawings
by Ernst Haeckel in 1874 showing that embryos of various vertebrate
groups go through identical stages of development were significantly
altered by the author to prove his point. This was considered important
evidence of evolution. The more "advanced" vertebrates passed through
their fish, amphibian and reptilian stages. For many years this was
standard fare in introductory biology texts, including his original
drawings. (I had thought that it had fallen into disuse.) The SCIENCE
article states that even 100 years ago it was commonly acknowledged that
their similarity was greatly exaggerated by Haeckel.

The article was in the August issue of ANATOMY and EMBRYOLOGY, by Michael
Richardson an embryologist at St. George's Hospital, London, UK.

This sounds like another case of the enthusiasm for proving evolution
clouding the ethical behavior of those defending the theory. But lets's
not forget that, like the Piltdown man affair, a practicing scientist who
in all probability is a firm evolutionist is reporting the fraud.