Artwork of embryonic development, 1891

Artwork of embryonic development, 1891

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Credit: MEHAU KULYK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Historical artwork of embryonic development. Four mammalian embryos of (from left to right) a dog, a bat, a rabbit and a human. They were illustrated by Ernst Haeckel and appeared in the 1891 edition of his Anthropogenie. The pictures appeared in many textbooks over the next century, until proved fraudulent with principles of genetics and the empirical observations of embryos. They were meant to show the initial similarity of the embryos, and argue this as evidence that humans share a common ancestry with these animals (the biogenetic law). In fact, the embryos show greater differences than appear in his diagram, and some of the drawings were deliberately faked to support the theory.

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