MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 446
Article views: 5105
Latest Badges:

View all SharksterII's badges.

Evolutionary Myths

03 January 2013, 11:14

During the December break, I followed some discussions, and saw a well-read atheist, proclaim that the human embryo had gills, and this was proof of the link between man and fish…

I could only chuckle at the idea. So I thought about discussing this and some other myths..

In an article, Eric J. Blievernicht mentions being handed a book from his then retiring biology teacher. The following was stated there:

"The fish, reptile, and human embryos each form an internal skeleton, including vertebral column, skull, ribs, limb girdles, and limb cartilages. The gills open through the pharynx to the outside... In the reptile and the human embryos, the pharyngeal gills are closed up, and lungs develop."

Ibid, pp. 488-489

He further mentions that a fellow student pointed to human gill slits as "proof" of evolution. One had to admit it was a good point. If humans really have gill slits as foetuses, that would indeed be powerful evidence for the evolution of man from fish!

He states the following…

“Nor is this intellectual hangover from the 19th century confined to old biology textbooks and ignorant biochemistry students. I found the following statement recently in a book by Dr. Ian Tattersall, prominent paleoanthropologist and Head of the Anthropology Department at the American Museum of Natural History. His work included serving as Curator in Charge of the Hall of Human Biology and Evolution there. He writes: "Sometimes the process of individual development can also be informative: the fact that gill slits appear early in embryonic life among humans and other land-dwellers, for example, helps confirm that gills are a primitive character among vertebrates."

The idea that human foetuses have gill slits is a part of what was known as the Biogenetic Law. "The idea that the embryo of a complex animal goes through stages resembling the embryos of its ancestors is called the Biogenetic Law." This "Law", also known as recapitulation theory, (i.e., "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny") was formulated in 1866 by Dr. Ernst Haeckel, an early scientific convert to Darwinism. How has this "Law" fared since then?

In 1874 another German professor, Wilhelm His, showed that Haeckel had deliberately altered earlier sketches of human and dog embryos to support the Biogenetic Law. Professor His was ignored by evolutionists in spite of the "blatant fraud" and the exacting detail in which he was able to show how the fraud had been generated. Taylor comments: "His, whose work still stands as the foundation of our knowledge of embryological development, was not the first to point out the deficiencies of Haeckel's work, nor indeed was he the last, yet Haeckel's fraudulent drawings have continued to the present day to be reproduced throughout the biological literature."

This dishonesty was admitted in the Introduction to the Centennial Edition of Darwin's Origin of the Species: "When the 'convergence' of embryos was not entirely satisfactory, Haeckel altered the illustrations of them to fit his theory. The 'biogenetic law' as proof of evolution is valueless." “

This myth has been and is most probably still spread throughout the education system and schools and universities. But what about the infamous "gill slits" shown in Haeckel's sketches?

A modern medical text states: "The pharyngeal arches and clefts are frequently referred to as branchial arches and branchial clefts in anology with the lower vertebrates, [but] since the human embryo never has gills called 'branchia', the term pharyngeal arches and clefts has been adopted for this book."

Biologist Dr. Gary Parker  states the following: "The throat (or pharyngeal) grooves and pouches, falsely called "gill slits" are not mistakes in human development. They develop into absolutely essential parts of human anatomy. The middle ear canals come from the second pouches, and the parathyroid and thymus glands come from the third and fourth... another pouch, thought to be vestigial by evolutionists until just recently, becomes a gland that assists in calcium balance. Far from being useless evolutionary vestiges, then, these so-called "gill slits" are quite essential for distinctively human development."

If the evidence for the "fact" of evolution was so great and overwhelming, why did evolutionists need to continue to promote a 19th-century fraud to support their theory…

Further information

The whole "ontogyny recapitulates phylogeny" principle has fallen into disrepute. It used to be trumpeted as a common-sense support for evolution, but many examples of this principle turned out to be based on superficial resemblances and misconceptions. That's not to say that one cannot learn about evolution by studying embryos, but the real picture is quite a bit complicated than human embryos having gills and tails.

In an unfortunate display of Creationist-type behavior, some Evolutionists (and by capitalizing that term I mean to indicate anti-Young-Earth-Creationists, as distinguished from, say, scientists who study evolution) have continued to trot out this canard. It's an appealing notion, to be sure, but one that should probably be discarded in favor of stronger scientific arguments. In his Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Stephen Jay Gould pointed out that it is more accurate to say "ontogeny recapitulates ontogeny." That is, embryos/fetuses do not pass through stages resembling the adult forms of ancestral species, but may pass through stages similar to those of embryonic/fetal stages of ancestral species. The early stages of development are highly conservative; evolutionary modifications are more likely to appear at later stages of development than later ones. Embryonic humans at very early stages resemble embryonic fish (both having branchial clefts); they never resemble adult fish (having true gills). The facial muscles, pharynx, larynx, thyroid, thymus, mandible, facial bones, inner ear bones, tonsils and nasal cavity develop from pharyngeal arches.

The evolutionist says, “There’s no evidence of creation in the human embryo. Otherwise, why would a human being have a yolk sac like a chicken does and a tail like a lizard does? Why would a human being have gill slits like a fish does? An intelligent creator should have known that human beings don’t need those things.”

If the opening were really part of a gill, if it really were a “throwback to the fish stage,” then there would be blood vessels all around it, as if it were going to absorb oxygen from water as a gill does. But there is no such structure. We simply don’t have the DNA instructions for forming gills. The throat (or pharyngeal) grooves and pouches, falsely called “gill slit,” are not mistakes in human development. They develop into absolutely essential parts of human anatomy—the lower jaw, tongue, thymus gland, the parathyroid, etc. The middle ear canals come from the second pouches, and the parathyroid and thymus glands come from the third and fourth.

Without a thymus, we would lose half our immune systems. Without the parathyroids, we would be unable to regulate calcium balance and could not even survive. Another pouch, thought to be vestigial by evolutionists until just recently, becomes a gland that assists in calcium balance. Far from being useless evolutionary vestiges, then, these so-called “gill slits” are quite essential for distinctively human development.

Other vestigial myths

In Chickens, the yolk contains much of the food that the chick depends on for growth. In humans, we grow attached to our mothers, and they nourish us. Does that mean the foetus’s so-called “yolk sac” can be cut off from the human embryo because it isn’t needed? The “yolk sac” is the source of the human embryo’s first blood cells, and death would result without it.

In the adult, you want to have the blood cells formed inside the bone marrow. That makes good sense, because the blood cells are very sensitive to radiation damage and bone would offer them some protection. You need blood in order to form the bone marrow that later on is going to form blood. So, where do you get the blood first? The DNA and protein for making it are “common stock” building materials. And, since it lies conveniently outside the embryo, it can easily be discarded after it has served its temporary-but vital-function.

That’s what we see in human embryonic development. The same kind of structure that can provide food and blood cells to a chicken embryo can be used to supply blood cells (all that’s needed) for a human embryo. Rather than reflecting time and chance, adapting similar structures to a variety of needs seems to reflect creation.

The Human tail

Some of you have heard that man has a “tail bone” (also called a coccyx), and that the only reason we have it is to remind us that our ancestors had tails. If one thinks the coccyx is useless, fall down the stairs and land on it. (Some of you may have actually done that-unintentionally, I’m sure!) What happens? You can’t stand up; you can’t sit down; you can’t lie down; you can’t roll over. You can hardly move without pain. In one sense, the coccyx is one of the most important bones in the whole body. It’s an important point of muscle attachment required for our distinctive upright posture So again, far from being a useless evolutionary leftover, the coccyx is quite important in human development. True, the end of the spine sticks out noticeably in a one-month embryo, but that’s because muscles and limbs don’t develop until stimulated by the spine. As the legs develop, they surround and envelop the coccyx, and it winds up inside the body.

Once in a great while a child will be born with a “tail.” But, is it really a tail? No, it’s not even the coccyx. It doesn’t have any bones in it; it doesn’t have any nerve cord either. The nervous system starts stretched out open on the back. During development, it rises up in ridges and rolls shut. It starts to “zipper” shut in the middle first, then it zippers toward either end. Once in a while it doesn’t go far enough, and that produces a serious defect called spina bifida. Sometimes it rolls a little too far. Then the baby will be born—not with a tail, but with a fatty tumor. It’s just skin and a little fatty tissue, so the doctor can just cut it off. It’s not at all like the tail of a cat that has muscle, bones, and nerve, so cutting it off is not complicated. (So far as I know, no one claims that proves we evolved from an animal with a fatty tumor at the end of its spine.)

So hopefully this will help the individual that stated the little gem about human having gills in the embryonic stage. A little reading goes a far way…

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Langa Khumalo
The Last Massacre, Zimbabwe's im...

The final pieces have been set, the fool's show goes on and the horror that is about to happen in Zimbabwe will be historical if not biblical. Read more...

0 comments 981 views
Submitted by
The Rise and Fall of Democracy!

Nothing can be more truer than the fact that Democracy is the Government by the People and for the People!  Read more...

0 comments 70 views
Submitted by
Ian Craig
Rugby World Cup 2023

Rugby World Cup 2023: The hour came, and the hour went. Good money spent on something that was not going to happen.  Read more...

0 comments 246 views
Submitted by
Tshepo Tshabalala
#GIJC: Africa's Global Investigat...

African investigative journalists face a slew of challenges, with physical danger topping the list.  Read more...

0 comments 120 views
Submitted by
Tshepo Tshabalala
#GIJC: The basics of web scraping...

Web scraping is a useful technique to assist investigative journalists to uncover truths and improve the overall quality of reporting.  Read more...

0 comments 101 views
Submitted by
Dinesh Balliah
#GIJC: The ABCs of hard-hitting j...

Persistence is the most crucial quality to investigative journalism according to investigative journalist for The Washington Post and academic, Cheryl W. Thompson. Read more...

0 comments 133 views


RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2017 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.