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Absolute truth

The Biogenetic Law - The Recapitulation Misconception

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The theory of recapitulation "التلخيص", also called the biogenetic law قانون النشوء الحيوي or embryological parallelism—and often expressed as


"ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny"


— a biological hypothesis that in developing from embryo to adult, animals go through stages resembling or representing successive stages in the evolution of their remote ancestors.


 تنشؤ الفرد أو التخلُّق هي أصل الكائن الحي ومراحل تطوره - على سبيل المثال: بداية من البيضة المخصَبة إلى مرحلة الشكل الناضج. وهو في الأساس يغطي دراسة عمر الكائن الحي

Ontogeny (also ontogenesis or morphogenesis) is the origin and the development of an organism – for example: from the fertilized egg to mature form. It covers in essence, the study of an organism's lifespan.



Dissection of human embryo


RECAPITULATE : to restate briefly : summarize


علم الوراثة العرقي أو الفيلوجيني هو علم دراسة العلاقات التطورية المختلفة بين مجموعات الكائنات الحية


phylogenetics is the study of evolutionary relationships among groups of organisms.

Edited by Absolute truth
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Ernst Haeckel


Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919), von Haeckel, was an eminent German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and the kingdom Protista.

Haeckel promoted and popularized Darwin's work in Germany and developed the recapitulation theory.

Darwin's On the Origin of Species,which made a powerful impression on Haeckel when he read it in 1864, was very cautious about the possibility of ever reconstructing the history of life, but did include a section reinterpreting von Baer's embryology and revolutionising the field of study, concluding that

"Embryology rises greatly in interest, when we thus look at the embryo as a picture, more or less obscured, of the common parent-form of each great class of animals."

The famous drawings that were associated with this law are below:


Double plate illustration showing embryos of fish (F), salamander (A), tur tle (T), chick (H), pig (S), cow ®,rabbit (K), and human (M),

at "very early", "somewhat later" and "still later" stages, from Haeckel's Anthropogenie published in 1874.


Romanes' 1892 copy of Ernst Haeckel's embryo drawings. According to Richardson and Keuck (2002) "Haeckel’s ABC of evolution and development," p. 516, Romanes version is often attributed incorrectly to Haeckel.

Edited by Absolute truth

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Haeckel proposed that the pharyngeal grooves between the pharyngeal arches in the neck of the human embryo resembled gill slits of fish, thus representing an adult "fish-like" developmental stage as well as signifying a fish-like ancestor.



So, the terms "branchial groove, branchial arches" were used as a synonym for "pharyngeal groove, pharyngeal arches" for a more than a century ! (misnomer)



branchial [brang′kē·əl]

Etymology: Gk, branchia, gills


Edited by Absolute truth

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In addition to the gills الخياشيم , another term/misnomer was introduced and still used till today which is"Yolk sac- كيس الصفار/ المُح",


A bird's egg is a self-contained unit. Everything the fetus needs to grow to birth weight is contained in the egg. The yolk provides the nutrients to bring that single-cell egg to birth stage.The yolk sac is a membranous sac attached to an embryo, providing early nourishment in the form of yolk in bony fishes, sharks, reptiles, birds, and primitive mammals.


In humans, the nutrients are provided from the mother to the fetus by the umbilical cord. The so called yolk sac functions as the developmental circulatory system of the human embryo, before internal circulation begins.


It is the first element seen in the gestational sac during pregnancy, usually at 5 weeks gestation. It is a critical landmark, identifying a true gestation sac. It is reliably seen early in human pregnancy using ultrasound.


The yolk sac and double ring sign as seen in early pregnancy by Ultrasound (approx 5 weeks)

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. Haeckel suggested that a tail ذيل could be seen during embryo development in organisms that did not possess them as adults. It was asserted that these organism must have possessed structures during their evolutionary history that were lost in adult stages.


The part that was identified as a "tail" by Haeckel and his followers is in fact the backbone “tail bone” (also called a coccyx), which resembles a tail only because it takes shape before the legs do. However, the term is still used.

Edited by Absolute truth

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What's above was a summary of the theory, What used to be called the "recapitulation theory" has long been officially eliminated from scientific literature. It has since been proven that this theory is completely bogus.


It's now obsolete worldwide

من المعروف الآن أن هذه النظرية هي خرافة محضة

According to wikipedia:

The theory of recapitulation itself has been viewed within the field of developmental biology as a historical side-note rather than as dogma. The Haeckelian form of recapitulation theory is now considered defunct.


This is universally acknowledged fact in the scientific world !

وهذه حقيقة علمية معترف بها في جميع أنحاء العالم ،

Edited by Absolute truth

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The myth exposed


The first one who exposed the myth of recapitulation was the founder himself !


An interesting aspect of "recapitulation" was Ernst Haeckel himself, a man who falsified his drawings in order to support the theory he advanced. Haeckel's forgeries purported to show that fish and human embryos resembled one another. When he was caught out, the only defense he offered was that other persons had committed similar offences:

He wrote:

"After this compromising confession of 'forgery' I should be obliged to consider myself condemned and annihilated if I had not the consolation of seeing side by side with me in the prisoner's dock hundreds of fellow - culprits, among them many of the most trusted observers and most esteemed biologists. The great majority of all the diagrams in the best biological textbooks, treatises and journals would incur in the same degree the charge of 'forgery,' for all of them are inexact, and are more or less doctored, schematised and constructed."

Francis Hitching, The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong, Ticknor and Fields, New York, 1982, p. 204.


بعد هذا الاعتراف "بالتزييف"، الذي يضعني موضع الشبهات، يفترض بي أن أعتبر نفسي مجرما مدانا ومقضيا عليه لكن عزائي أنني أراني جنبا إلى جنب في قفص الاتهام مع مئات المجرمين الرفقاء، من بينهم العديد من أكثر المراقبين ثقة وأكثر علماء الأحياء تقديرا. وستتعرض الغالبية العظمى من مجمل الرسوم التخطيطية الموجودة في أفضل كتب الأحياء الدراسية، وبحوثها، ومجلاتها لتهمة "التزوير" بنفس الدرجة، لأنها جميعا غير دقيقة، وإلى حد ما متلاعب بها ومخطط لها، ومدبرة"

Edited by Absolute truth

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Top: a Fish Embryo

Next: a Chick Embryo

Next: a Pig Embryo

Bottom: a Human Embryo


Examples of the early stages of development in vertebrate embryos.
Unlike Haeckel's drawings (post 2 above), these photographs are absolutely accurate and have been taken at similar stages of development.

All of these photomicrographs were taken by the Swedish biophotographer Lennart Nillson, and can be viewed directly at the Odyssey of Life website (part of the NOVA science series on Public Broadcasting)


Edited by Absolute truth

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In the September 5, 1997, edition of the well-known scientific journal Science, an article was published revealing that Haeckel's embryo drawings were the product of a deception. The article, called "Haeckel's Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered," had this to say:

The impression they [Haeckel's drawings] give, that the embryos are exactly alike, is wrong, says Michael Richardson, an embryologist at St. George's Hospital Medical School in London… So he and his colleagues did their own comparative study, reexamining and photographing embryos roughly matched by species and age with those Haeckel drew. Lo and behold, the embryos "often looked surprisingly different," Richardson reports in the August issue of Anatomy and Embryology.323




Observations in recent years have revealed that embryos of different species do not resemble each other, as Haeckel had attempted to show. The great differences between the mammal, reptile and bat embryos above are a clear instance of this.


Science explained that, in order to be able to show the embryos as similar, Haeckel deliberately removed some organs from his drawings or else added imaginary ones. Later in this same article, the following information was revealed:


Not only did Haeckel add or omit features, Richardson and his colleagues report, but he also fudged the scale to exaggerate similarities among species, even when there were 10-fold differences in size. Haeckel further blurred differences by neglecting
to name the species in most cases, as if one representative was accurate for an entire group of animals. In reality,
Richardson and his colleagues note, even closely related embryos such as those of fish vary quite a bit in their appearance and developmental pathway. "It (Haeckel's drawings) looks like it's turning out to be one of the most famous fakes in biology," Richardson concludes.324



Below are Heckel's drawing compared with actual ones:

Figure  Haeckel's drawings compared with actual embryos (from Wells, 2000)

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In short, the fact that Haeckel's drawings were falsified had already emerged century ago, but the whole world of science continued to be deceived by them for a century.



Yet, many biology Professors and students still think this theory is true !


Haeckel's confessions on this subject were covered up from the beginning of the last century, and  the fake drawings began to be presented in textbooks as scientific fact:


For example:


That's what was found:



A Note on Textbooks

by Ken Miller and Joe Levine

"This idea has been pushed back into the news recently by the news that Haeckel's drawings of embryonic similarities were not correct. British embryologist Michael Richardson and his colleages published an important paper in the August 1997 issue of Anatomy & Embryology showing that Haeckel had fudged his drawings to make the early stages of embryos appear more alike than they actually are! As it turns out, Haeckel's contemporaries had spotted the fraud during his lifetime, and got him to admit it. However, his drawings nonetheless became the source material for diagrams of comparative embryology in nearly every biology textbook, including ours"

"So, what have we done?

Well, we fixed it!


In 1998 we rewrote page 283 of the 5th edition to better reflect the scientific evidence. Our books now contain accurate drawings of the embryos made from detailed photomicrographs":






Edited by Absolute truth

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We are disappointed when we find supposed "science" textbooks and sites still talk about the "gill slits" of human embryos, as if they are scientific "facts":



The "hourglass" model of development is illustrated below, where it shows that vertebrate embryos are actually more quite different in their earliest stages of development:



Copyright Jody F. Sjogren 2000

Textbooks thus typically:


a) cherry pick the encircled stage as the alleged "earliest stage" of vertebrate development, when in fact
vertebrate embryos at their earliest stages, including gastrulation and neurulation.have significant non-trivial differences.


b) use the haeckels drawings instead of actual ones


Edited by Absolute truth

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