AFTER  ITS  KIND


From  the  book  by  the  same  name (1958)



THE  "PROOF"  FROM  EMBRYOLOGY



This proof consists essentially in the so-called, fact that each embryo in its development from a single cell to adult passes  through  stages  that  correspond   one after another to each upward step in the evolution of the species as a whole. According to the theory man has evolved from a single cell in some primitive ocean into an invertebrate, thence into a fish, thence into an amphibian, thence to a reptile, thence to a mammal, thence to an ape, finally becoming himself, with thousands of nameless transition stages in between. Therefore, so it is said, the embryo of man begins as a single cell, passes into a fish, thence into a reptile, thence into a mammal, thence into an ape, and finally ends in man. 18 In other words, the embryological development of man is a moving picture of 500,000,000 years of human history.19


The above is the argument for evolution from embryology in its boldest form, as it was formulated by Ernest


l8 Childhood is further said to represent the stage of the development of the race through the low savage-stage. Children like to throw stones and chase one another with sticks!

19 In the language of the evolutionists "Ontogeny (i. e. the history of the individual) is the recapitulation (repetition) of phylogeny (i. e. the history of the race)"!


Haeckel the latter part of the last century. 20 That the embryo passes through such stages is a wild statement not supported by the facts. Each embryo must develop somehow in order to reach the adult condition, and, as has been shown in the preceding section, there is a vague similarity in the development of all embryos. But it is only a prejudiced imagination that is able to see in the embryonic development a retracing of any such evolutionary history as the theory of evolution supposes. The evolutionist Locy says, "Many stages have been dropped out, others are unduly prolonged or abbreviated, or appear out of their


Fig. 11. A stage in the embryonic development of the fish. According to the old argument for evolution from embryology each creature in its development from a single cell to adult form repeats each stage through which its ancestors evolved. Above is one stage in the embryonic development of the fish that must be called a "falsification of the ancestral record," for no creature like the above ever could have existed.


chronological order. And besides, some of the structures have arisen from adaptation and are not, therefore—ancestral at all, but are, as it were, recent additions to the text. The interpretation becomes a difficult task, and requires much balance of judgment and profound—analysis." 21 None but an evolutionist, we suppose, is privileged to have the necessary "balance of judgment."


20 Today no evolutionist of any standing dares to repeat it in the form which Haeckel presented it. "Haeckel saw in it (the evidence of embryology) more than the actual facts warranted and by his over-emphasis of its significance and his detailed interpretation of the evolutionary history brought it into some disrepute." Kellogg, Evolution the Way of Man, page 54.

21 Biology and Its Makers, page 230.


The following facts regarding the proof from embryology deserve special attention:


(1) It is admitted by evolutionists that there are embryonic stages which do not resemble any possible ancestral forms ... Morgan, in his Critique of the Theory of Evolution, provides pictures of several embryonic forms which, he says, "could not possibly represent ancestral animals." 22 He shows the picture of an embryonic fish (See Fig. 11) which has attached to its stomach region a sac as large as itself, and another picture of an embryo chick which at an early stage is so completely enveloped in a membrane that had it ever existed in such form, it would have been shut off entirely from the outside world. An example of a stage, that can not possibly resemble any ancestral animal may be taken from the insects, e.g., the common house-fly. Let an evolutionist describe the embryonic life of this fly, "A maggot hatching from an egg grows so rapidly that it is mature in a few days; then within an impenetrable skin (i.e., the chrysalis) it dissolves itself almost completely. A little later the liquid content of the skin turns to a sort of jelly, and in a few days this is reconstructed into a being so totally different in appearance, in habits, and in structure, that the resources of science, find themselves severely taxed to demonstrate any identity in the organ of the two stages of the insect's existence." 23 Special attention is called to what is said about the maggot's dissolving itself into a liquid. The maggot, according to the evolutionists, represents an ancestral animal. The dissolved stage following does not. Why not, we ask. Why say one does and the other does not ?


"During the period of life within its womb the human embryo develops a large organ like a sucker, which is closely pressed against the wall of the womb and which enables the tiny baby to suck nourishment from its motther's blood. This sucker, which is called the placenta. is developed from the belly of the embryo, which is thereby distorted out of shape." This description is quoted from


22 In evolutionary terminology embryonic stages which represent ancestral animals are called "palingenetic." Those that do not are called "cenogenetic."

23 W. F. Showalter in National Geographic, July, 1929, page 66.


the evolutionist McBride, who also says, "Now no one imagines that some ancestor of man went about through life with a placenta protruding from its under surface." 24 But we ask, why not, if embryological development shows past history? We grant that no human ancestor did go through life thus, but if the reasoning underlying the embryological proof of evolution is valid he did. It is during the same time the human embryo has a placenta protruding


Fig. 12. Four stages in the embryonic development of the Milkweed Butterfly. (1) egg, greatly enlarged. (2) larva. (3) pupa or chrysalis. (4) young butterfly. The larval or worm stage is said to repeat an ancestral animal. The chrysalis stage, in which many species of butterflies spend half their lives, is said not to repeat an ancestral animal. The chrysalis stage is a "falsification of the ancestral record," since it is a stage in which the butterfly spends a long, quiet, helpless existence without taking in food. Two questions may be asked: First, why is the larval stage ancestral and not the chrysalis? Second, why and how did the worm, through thousands of years, evolve itself into such a helpless form as the chrysalis,  and how  did  it manage to evolve  out  of it?


from its stomach that the embryo has certain structures that are supposed to prove that man recapitulates a fish. But why regard this last as a record of the past history of man and not the first? If evidence is to be valid it must all be taken. If man can choose what he likes from evidence and reject what he does not, he can establish any falsehood. Morgan says that "hundreds of such embryonic cases are known to embryologists and are explained as "falsifications of the ancestral record.'" 25 The absurdity of this proof from embryology is apparent when those who advance it must accuse nature of falsifying. It would seem more proper, if, when natural evidence gives the lie to a theory,


24 Creation of Evolution, 1928, page 56. 

25 Critique of the Theory of Evolution, page 17.


the theory and not the evidence should be considered to be "falsifying."


(2) It is admitted by evolutionists that the vast majority of embryonic stages which are supposed to resemble remote ancestors are absent entirely. Only three definite ancestral evolutionary stages are said to be revealed. They are:


A. The "fish" stage. It is said that the embryos of man, cats, dogs, and birds all have gills and gill-slits at an early stage of development, these gill-slits being relics of the days when man was a fish. Here the imagination of the evolutionist is active, or else his regard for accurate statement is lax. To say that the early embryonic folds, clefts, and arteries which appear as somewhat similar formations in all vertebrate embryos, whether of man, ape, bird or fish, are gills and gill-slits is not warranted by facts. This can not be too emphatically stated. These things can not properly be called gills even in the fish embryo. In the case of the fish embryo they are structures that become gills, a far different matter from already being gills. In the case of the human embryo and those of dogs, cats and so on they become ears, jaws and parts of the head and neck. It is just as reasonable to say that the embryonic structures in the fish embryo are human ears, jaws and neck as to say that the somewhat similar structures in the human embryo are gills. What would be thought of the man who, seeing three similar piles of brick in a brickyard, the first pile to be made into a house; the second pile into a store; the third pile into a church, should say of the pile of brick to be made into a house, "That is a house"; and of the pile of brick to be made into a store, "That is a house"; and of the pile of brick to become a church, "That is also a house"? That is like what the evolutionists do when they say of the embryonic structure of land animals, "These are gills." That man is never a "gilled-creature," as is so often said by evolutionists, is clear from the fact that the creases between the early folds of the human embryo never open. In the fish embryo they become open only by the time the embryonic development of the fish is fairly complete. "In gill-bearing animals the grooves become complete clefts, the  'gill-clefts'  opening from the pharynx on to the interior; perforation, however, does not occur in birds and mammals." 26 "In all air-breathing vertebrates true gills are lacking," 27 admits Prof. Conklin.


B. The "tail" stage. Usually books on evolution do not mention any tailed ancestor as being represented in any human embryonic form. However, when a book on evolution is intended for the general public some evolutionists dare to make the statement that the human embryo has a tail. Kellogg, in his latest book 28 says, "The tail is longer than the leg in early stages of the human embryo, but gradually becomes more and more reduced, until at birth there is no external sign of it." 


Here again fancy and facts do not agree. The adult human being has thirty-three vertebrae in his spine. The spine of the human embryo also has thirty-three vertebrae and at no time more, which would be the case if the embryo ever in actual fact had a tail. That which is called a "tail" is nothing but the extension of the embryonic spine.


Some conception of the vagueness of the evidence involved in this proof of evolution, and of the room for the imagination to work, is had when it is realized that at this early stage of embryonic development, when man is said to be a "tailed" and a "gilled" creature, the embryo is the size of a pea. At that time only the principal organs of the body are in existence and these only in their faintest beginnings. They are, furthermore, not in their proper place. The heart is at this time as large as the head and is located in front of the mouth region. The spinal column is well marked long before there are any indications whatever of legs or arms.


The absurdity of seeing in the extension of the spine beyond the legs a true tail is most apparent when it is known that the intestine also extends beyond the legs, along with the so-called tail, and is, as Kellogg says of the tail, also "longer than the leg in early stages." Near the end of the so-called "tail" is the anal opening.


26 Gray's Anatomy, 15th edition, page 1168.

27 Creation by Evolution, page 67.

28 Evolution the Way of Man, page 52.


C.  The "hair" stage. The following statement appears in Prof. Kellogg's book: 29 "At the seventh month of prenatal life the chimpanzee and gorilla have well developed hair on scalp, eyebrows, and lips and the rest of the body is covered with fine hair. This is also true of the human embryo of the same age and the hair slopes and lines are very similar to those of apes. But before birth the human embryo loses the fine body hair." Such statements as these have influence only because of the ignorance of the ordinary person regarding the actual facts.


In considering the weight  of this  argument  one  can do no better than note what is said in several standard embryology books, and draw his own conclusions. The implication of the above statement is that the fine hair with which the embryo ape is covered at seven months and the fine hair with which the human embryo is covered are exactly alike. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The hair of the human embryo is exceedingly fine compared with that of the embryo ape. Heisler 30 says of the human embryo, "The first growth of hair is un-pigmented and is extremely fine and soft and is known as the lanugo or  embryonal  down.  This  appears  upon  the  scalp  and some other parts of the body in the fourth month, gradually extending over the entire surface in the succeeding months.  In the eighth month the lanugo begins to disappear, but is not lost as a whole till after birth when the permanent growth of hairs takes its place. Upon the face, in fact, the lanugo persists throughout life." Minot 31 says, "Lanugo is the term applied to the first coat of hairs in the embryo … The hairs are fine compared with those of the adult and are therefore usually described as woolly hairs. They are lost from most parts of the body and are replaced by larger and coarser hairs. Over the face the lanugo persists throughout life, but owing to the fineness and loss of color is not noticed." The attention of the reader is called to the emphasis placed on the fineness  of the hairs.   So  fine are they in fact that if the


29 Ibid., page 61.

30 Textbook of Embryology, page 250.

31 Human Embryology, page 561.


reader ever has the opportunity to visit medical museums and study the exhibitions of human embryos from five weeks to the age of birth he will not with his naked eye be able to see the faintest sign of a hair except on the head and eyebrows. Bailey and Miller 32 say, "The fine-formed hairs, which are exceedingly fine and silky, develop in vast numbers over the surface of the embryonic body and are known collectively as the lanugo. This growth is lost beginning before birth and continuing during the first and second years except over the face, and is replaced by coarser hairs. These are constantly shed during the life of the individual and replaced by newer ones. The new hairs probably in most cases develop from the old follicles."


If the reader is interested in knowing just what the hairs are like that appear in the fourth month and are on the body when it is born and remain only on the face during life, for the clothes wear them off elsewhere, he can take a mirror and step to the window and, looking carefully, see them along the outer edge of his ears.


The actual value for the theory of evolution of the evidence from embryology, when all the facts are clearly understood, was expressed by Bateson before the assembled scientists of America when he said regarding this argument, "Today we feel silence to be the safer course." 33 Other evolutionists have expressed the same sentiments in complete form but in more technical language. E. B. Wilson, called the "dean of American embryologists," has had this to say, "It is no wonder that a strong reaction against the theory has set in—that faith in the embryo-logical record is giving way to skepticism and indifference. There is a strong suspicion that the embryological record has somehow failed, and there are even some morphologists who seem almost ready to abandon the entire recapitulation theory.'" Wilson quotes with approval Gegenbaur, who said, "But if we are compelled to admit that cenogenetic characters (i. e. those supposed not to represent ancestral stages)  are intermingled with palingenetic


32 Textbook of Embryology, pages 447-448.

33 Science, Jan.-20, 1922.


(i. e. those that are supposed to represent ancestral stages) then we can not regard ontogeny (i. e. embryonic development) as a pure source of evidence regarding phyletic relationships (i. e. evolutionary history). Ontogeny, accordingly, becomes a field in which an active imagination may have full scope for its dangerous play, but in which positive results are by no means everywhere to be attained. To attain such results the palingenetic and the cenogenetic phenomena must be sifted apart, an operation which requires more than one critical granum satis. If it is once admitted that not everything in development is palingenetic, and that not every ontogenetic fact can be accepted, so to speak, at its face value, it follows that nothing in ontogeny is immediately available for the critique of embryological development. This conclusion can not be escaped." 34


Referring to the above words of Gegenbaur, Prof. Conklin has said, "Since the time this was written there have been many less moderate utterances to the same effect, some even declaring that there is no evidence that ontogeny ever recapitulates phylogeny and that Haeckel's 'biogenetic law' has no foundation in fact." 35 One of the "less moderate utterances" Conklin probably referred to is that of Montgomery, a biologist of high standing in evolutional circles, "The recapitulation hypothesis is scientifically untenable." 36


34 Biological Lectures - Woodshole, 1894, page 104

35 Creation by Evolution, 1928, page 71

36 The Analysis of the Racial descent in Animals, 1906

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TO  BE  CONTINUED