Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Theory Biosci. 2019 May;138(1):9-29. doi: 10.1007/s12064-019-00277-3. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Ernst Haeckel's contribution to Evo-Devo and scientific debate: a re-evaluation of Haeckel's controversial illustrations in US textbooks in response to creationist accusations.

Author information

1
Biology Education Research Group, Institute for Zoology and Evolutionary Research, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany. elizabeth.watts@uni-jena.de.
2
Institute for Biology, Universit├Ąt Kassel, Heinrich-Plett-Str. 40, 34109, Kassel, Germany.
3
Biology Education Research Group, Institute for Zoology and Evolutionary Research, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany.

Abstract

As Blackwell (Am Biol Teach 69:135-136, 2007) pointed out, multiple authors have attempted to discredit Haeckel, stating that modern embryological studies have shown that Haeckel's drawings are stylized or embellished. More importantly, though, it has been shown that the discussion within the scientific community concerning Haeckel's drawings and the question of whether embryonic similarities are convergent or conserved have been extrapolated outside the science community in an attempt to discredit Darwin and evolutionary theory in general (Behe in Science 281:347-351, 1998; Blackwell in Am Biol Teach 69:135-136, 2007; Pickett et al. in Am Biol Teach 67:275, 2005; Wells in Am Biol Teach 61:345-349, 1999; Icons of evolution: science or myth? Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong. Regnery Publishing, Washington, 2002). In this paper, we address the controversy surrounding Haeckel and his work in order to clarify the line between the shortcomings and the benefits of his research and illustrations. Specifically, we show that while his illustrations were not perfect anatomical representations, they were useful educational visualizations and did serve an important role in furthering studies in embryology.

KEYWORDS:

Creationism; Evolution; Haeckel; Science education; Textbooks; Visualization

PMID:
30868433
DOI:
10.1007/s12064-019-00277-3

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center