It has long been known that one of the most effective popularizers of evolution, Ernst Haeckel, fudged some drawings, but only now has the breathtaking extent of his deceit been revealed.
Most people have heard of or been taught the idea that the human embryo goes through (or recapitulates) various evolutionary stages, such as having gills like a fish, a tail like a monkey, etc., during the first few months that it develops in the womb.
The idea has not only been presented to generations of biology/medical students as fact, but has also been used for many years to persuasively justify abortion. Abortionists claimed that the unborn child being killed was still in the fish stage or the monkey stage, and had not yet become a human being.
This idea (called embryonic recapitulation) was vigorously expounded by Ernst Haeckel from the late 1860’s to promote Darwin’s theory of evolution in Germany, even though Haeckel did not have evidence to support his views.
Lacking the evidence, Haeckel set out to manufacture the data. He fraudulently changed drawings made by other scientists of human and dog embryos, to increase the resemblance between them and to hide the dissimilarities. (from www.geocities.com/truedino/haeckels.htm )
Evolution – Evidence from Embryology (Haeckel’s Fradulent Drawings)
Fraud examined and exposed
Michael Richardson, a lecturer and embryologist at St George’s Hospital Medical School, London has exposed this further fraud, in an article in the journal ‘Anatomy and Embryology(8), recently reviewed by ‘Science’(9) and ‘New Scientist’(10).
Richardson says he always felt there was something wrong with Haeckel’s drawings, ‘because they didn’t square with his [Richardson’s] understanding of the rates at which fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals develop their distinctive features’(8). He could find no record of anyone having actually compared embryos of one species with those of another, so that ‘no one has cited any comparative data in support of the idea’(8) [Haeckel’s theory].
He therefore assembled an international team to do just that—examine and photograph ‘the external form of embryos from a wide range of vertebrate species, at a stage comparable to that depicted by Haeckel(8).
The team collected embryos of 39 different creatures, including marsupials from Australia, tree frogs from Puerto Rico, snakes from France, and an alligator embryo from England. They found that the embryos of different species are very different. In fact, they are so different that the drawings made by Haeckel ( of similar looking human, rabbit, salamander, fish, chicken, etc. embryos) could not possibly have been done from real specimens.
Nigel Hawkes interviewed Richardson for ‘The Times’ (London) (note 11). In an article describing Haeckel as ‘An embryonic liar’, he quotes Richardson:
“This is one of the worst cases of scientific fraud. It’s shocking to find that somebody one thought was a great scientist was deliberately misleading. It makes me angry…What he [Haeckel] did was to take a human embryo and copy it, pretending that the salamander, and the pig and all the others looked the same at the same stage of development. They don’t…These are fakes.’ (from www.geocities.com/truedino/haeckels.htm )