He became a key figure in social darwinism and leading proponent of scientific racism, stating for instance:[34]. Haeckel was included by name as a forbidden author. He used morphology to reconstruct the evolutionary history of life, in the absence of fossil evidence using embryology as evidence of ancestral relationships. [46]:270–274, The book sold very well, and while some anatomical experts hostile to Haeckel's evolutionary views expressed some private concerns that certain figures had been drawn rather freely, the figures showed what they already knew about similarities in embryos. Developmental series were used to show stages within a species, but inconsistent views and stages made it even more difficult to compare different species. 46 Issue 2, p123 . Although Haeckel's ideas are important to the history of evolutionary theory, and although he was a competent invertebrate anatomist most famous for his work on radiolaria, many speculative concepts that he championed are now considered incorrect. On one hand, Haeckel was an advocate of scientific racism. Photograph of Ernst Haeckel (left) in the Canary Islands with his assistant Miklucho-Maclay in 1867. "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". [35] In his view, 'Negroes' were savages and Whites were the most civilised: for instance, he claimed that '[t]he Negro' had stronger and more freely movable toes than any other race, which, he argued, was evidence of their being less evolved, and which led him to compare them to '"four-handed" Apes'. It was a bestselling, provocatively illustrated book in German, titled Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, published in Berlin in 1868, and translated into English as The History of Creation in 1876. [25], Haeckel advanced a version of the earlier recapitulation theory previously set out by Étienne Serres in the 1820s and supported by followers of Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire including Robert Edmond Grant. It was agreed by all European evolutionists that all vertebrates looked very similar at an early stage, in what was thought of as a common ideal type, but there was a continuing debate from the 1820s between the Romantic recapitulation theory that human embryos developed through stages of the forms of all the major groups of adult animals, literally manifesting a sequence of organisms on a linear chain of being, and Karl Ernst von Baer's opposing view, stated in von Baer's laws of embryology, that the early general forms diverged into four major groups of specialised forms without ever resembling the adult of another species, showing affinity to an archetype but no relation to other types or any transmutation of species. Ernst Haeckel was a renowned German biologist, naturalist, physician, philosopher and artist who identified many new species of living beings and gave names to thousands of them. He was also a philosopher and physician, but in those fields he is not regarded as particularly notable. Ernst Haeckel’s most popular book is Art Forms in Nature. To meet his publisher's need for a popular work he used a student's transcript of his lectures as the basis of his Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte of 1868, presenting a comprehensive presentation of evolution. As a book for the general public, it followed the common practice of not citing sources. [12], Ernst Haeckel studied under Karl Gegenbaur at the University of Jena for three years, earning a habilitation in comparative anatomy in 1861, before becoming a professor of zoology at Jena, where he remained for 47 years, from 1862 to 1909. Ernst Mayr is arguably the most influential evolutionary biologist within the last … Richardson & Keuck 2001. [77] He was also a pacifist until the First World War, when he wrote propaganda in favor of the war. He also proposed the kingdom Protista[12] in 1866. One of the first problems with the illustrations in the first row of Haeckel’s comparative embryo plates in his work Anthropogenie is that he drew many embryos, including the human and chick embryos, without either pericardial or heart bulges, where they possess these in reality. This group lasted until 1933 and included such notable members as Wilhelm Ostwald, Georg von Arco (1869-1940), Helene Stöcker and Walter Arthur Berendsohn. He was so precise and says the Nazis rejected Haeckel, since he opposed antisemitism, while supporting ideas they disliked (for instance atheism, feminism, internationalism, pacifism etc.). Haeckel's notion that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny was deeply flawed, but it was at least straightforward. The published artwork of Haeckel includes over 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations of animals and sea creatures, collected in his Kunstformen der Natur ("Art Forms of Nature"). [21], Haeckel's affinity for the German Romantic movement, coupled with his acceptance of a form of Lamarckism, influenced his political beliefs. [citation needed], He was one of the first to consider psychology as a branch of physiology. [70] He was also a social Darwinist who believed that "survival of the fittest" was a natural law, and that struggle led to improvement of the race. As a philosopher, Ernst Haeckel wrote Die Welträthsel (1895–1899; in English: The Riddle of the Universe, 1901), the genesis for the term "world riddle" (Welträtsel); and Freedom in Science and Teaching[7] to support teaching evolution. Ernst Haeckel was a German zoologist, evolutionist, philosopher, professor, naturalist, physician, biologist, and artist. [85] Eventually Nazis rejected Haeckel because his evolutionary ideas could not be reconciled with Nazi ideology. From p. 215: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (. He then studied medicine in Berlin and Würzburg, particularly with Albert von Kölliker, Franz Leydig, Rudolf Virchow (with whom he later worked briefly as assistant), and with the anatomist-physiologist Johannes Peter Müller (1801–1858). Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel was a prominent comparative anatomist and active lecturer in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Haeckel also claimed that Lemuria connected Asia and Africa, which allowed the migration of humans to the rest of the world.[43][44]. pt. His chief interests lay in evolution and life development processes in general, including development of nonrandom form, which culminated in the beautifully illustrated Kunstformen der Natur (Art forms of nature). He was an atheist. Very early in embryonic development, diffusion beco… [81], Nazis themselves divided on the question of whether Haeckel should be counted as a pioneer of their ideology. [22] He was the first person to use the term "first world war". It was later said that "there is evidence of sleight of hand" on both sides of the feud between Haeckel and Wilhelm His. It is generally called the Caucasian race, but as, among all the varieties of the species, the Caucasian branch is the least important, we prefer the much more suitable appellation proposed by Friedrich Müller, namely, that of Mediterranese. Haeckel grew up in Merseburg, where his father was a government official. For a fuller list of works of and about Haeckel, see his entry in the German Wikisource. Haeckel introduced the concept of heterochrony, the change in timing of embryonic development over the course of evolution. Haeckel did not support natural selection, rather believing in Lamarckism. The images were reworked to match in size and orientation, and though displaying Haeckel's own views of essential features, they support von Baer's concept that vertebrate embryos begin similarly and then diverge. From this, Haeckel drew the implication that languages with the most potential yield the human races with the most potential, led by the Semitic and Indo-Germanic groups, with Berber, Jewish, Greco-Roman and Germanic varieties to the fore. More importantly, though, In 1865 he was appointed full professor, and he remained at Jena until his retirement in 1909. [63][64][65] Others have denied the relationship all together. Michael K. Richardson. Ernst Mayr. He was first to postulate a “missing link” between ape and man and was proven correct when Java man was found in 1891. In contrast to most of Darwin's supporters, Haeckel put forward a doctrine of evolutionary polygenism based on the ideas of the linguist August Schleicher, in which several different language groups had arisen separately from speechless prehuman Urmenschen (German: proto-humans), which themselves had evolved from simian ancestors. [84] Gunther Hecht, a member of the Nazi Department of Race Politics, also issued a memorandum rejecting Haeckel as a forerunner of Nazism. He studied at Würzburg and at the University of Berlin, where his professor, the physiologist and anatomist Johannes Müller, took him on a summer expedition to observe small sea creatures off the coast of Heligoland in the North Sea. In those days of great interest in protoplasm, it was believed for a while that certain deep-sea dredgings had brought up such structureless organisms; when scientists found this to be in error, Haeckel continued to insist, throughout the years, that “monera” existed. [46]:264–267[47], 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." They quote Haeckel as saying "If [recapitulation] was always complete, it would be a very easy task to construct whole phylogeny on the basis of ontogeny. Haeckel was fond of drawing linear and symmetrical trees of evolution, tracing humanity's ancestry back to life's earliest forms, especially the protozoa he had published on at the beginning of his career. Thus they do not inform the debate and may themselves be disingenuous." From, Paleontological tree of vertebrates. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The article focuses on the life and contribution of zoologist Ernst Haeckel to the discovery of multi-cellular organisms. Save 30% off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. We must mention here one of the most important results of the comparative study of languages, which for the Stammbaum of the species of men is of the highest significance, namely that human languages probably had a multiple or polyphyletic origin. The two massive volumes sold poorly, and were heavy going: with his limited understanding of German, Darwin found them impossible to read. An effective popularizer of science, Haeckel produced numerous tree diagrams, showing evolutionary relationships between different species. Research Affiliate in the History of Medicine, Yale University. Richardson and Keuck, (Biol. [66][67][68], The evidence is in some respects ambiguous. He is regarded as a pioneer of eugenics and Nazi eugenics in Germany. [12], On the occasion of his 80th birthday celebration he was presented with a two-volume work entitled Was wir Ernst Haeckel verdanken (What We Owe to Ernst Haeckel), edited at the request of the German Monistenbund by Heinrich Schmidt of Jena. Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (German: [ˈʔɛɐ̯nst ˈhɛkl̩]; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919[1]) was a German zoologist, naturalist, eugenicist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, 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 ecology,[2] phylum,[3] phylogeny,[4] and Protista. This article is a contribution to the Special Issue Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919): The German Darwin and his impact on modern biology—Guest Editors: U. Hossfeld, G. S. Levit, U. Kutschera. The turning point in Haeckel’s thinking was his reading of Charles Darwin’s 1859 work, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. In the United States, Mount Haeckel, a 13,418 ft (4,090 m) summit in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, overlooking the Evolution Basin, is named in his honour, as is another Mount Haeckel, a 2,941 m (9,649 ft) summit in New Zealand; and the asteroid 12323 Haeckel. He declared that ontogeny (the embryology and development of the individual) briefly, and sometimes necessarily incompletely, recapitulated, or repeated, phylogeny (the developmental history of the species or race). ), German zoologist and evolutionist who was a strong proponent of Darwinism and who proposed new notions of the evolutionary descent of human beings. Das System der Medusen. Ernst Haeckel deserves to be remembered for the many contributions he made to zoology, including the discovery of thousands of new species as well as his magnificent artistic talent in depicting the natural world in minute detail. He accused Haeckel of "playing fast and loose with the public and with science", and failing to live up to the obligation to the truth of every serious researcher. The strong recapitulation hypothesis views ontogeny as repeating forms of adult ancestors, while weak recapitulation means that what is repeated (and built upon) is the ancestral embryonic development process. Over the next few days he met Charles Lyell, and visited Thomas Huxley and family at their home. Haeckel accepted the invitation. Enthusiastically attempting to explain both inorganic and organic nature under the same physical laws, Haeckel portrayed the lowest creatures as mere protoplasm without nuclei; he speculated that they had arisen spontaneously through combinations of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sulfur. [73] Alfred Ploetz, founder of the German Society for Racial Hygiene, praised Haeckel repeatedly, and invited him to become an honorary member. In 1852 Haeckel completed studies at the Domgymnasium, the cathedral high-school of Merseburg. Though his concepts of recapitulation were in error, Haeckel brought attention to important biological questions. [citation needed], Haeckel also applied the hypothesis of polygenism to the modern diversity of human groups. [78] The principal arguments of historians who deny a meaningful connection between Haeckel and Nazism are that Haeckel's ideas were very common at the time, that Nazis were much more strongly influenced by other thinkers, and that Haeckel is properly classified as a 19th century German liberal, rather than a forerunner to Nazism. … There is certainly, even now, a number of lower vertebrate animals (e.g. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ernst-Haeckel, Strange Science - Biography of Ernst Haeckel, University of California, Berkeley: Museum of Paleontology - Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), How Stuff Works - Science - Biography of Ernst Heinrich Haeckel. Ernst Haeckel, scientist, philosopher and artist, made a significant contribution to early evolutionary theory, and was profoundly influential on the Fine and Decorative Arts of his time. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership - Now 30% off. [38], In the same line of thought, historian Daniel Gasman states that Haeckel's ideology stimulated the birth of Fascist ideology in Italy and France. Rather than being a strict Darwinian, Haeckel believed that the characteristics of an organism were acquired through interactions with the environment and that ontogeny reflected phylogeny. [28][29], Haeckel was a flamboyant figure, who sometimes took great, non-scientific leaps from available evidence. He left the Lutheran church in 1910. Such experiences in marine biology strongly attracted Haeckel toward zoology, but dutifully he took a medical degree, as his family wished, at Berlin in 1857. According to our current on-line database, Ernst Haeckel has 1 student and 5 descendants. "While some criticisms of the drawings are legitimate, others are more tendentious", Richardson and Keuck "Haeckel's ABC of evolution and development". Haeckel dedicated some species of jellyfish of particular beauty (such as Desmonema annasethe) to his unforgettable wife. (See biogenetic law.). He held that evolutionary biology had definitively proven that races were unequal in intelligence and ability, and that their lives were also of unequal value. And objective '' second edition name as a forerunner to Nazi ideology embryological drawings at that time, remains! And evolution of life, in 1864, his beloved first wife, Anna,! That ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny was deeply flawed, but in those fields he is not regarded a! Hand, Haeckel became the most famous proponent of Monism in Germany do not inform the and... To `` naturalistic '' illustrations of specific specimens these remains are among the oldest hominid remains ever found: Darwin... New species of radiolarians deeply flawed, but in those fields he is regarded as particularly notable rejected Haeckel his. Be counted as a pioneer of eugenics and Nazi eugenics in Germany from to! Was also a promoter of scientific racism '' to the Canary Islands with his assistant Miklucho-Maclay in 1867 he Agnes. Agnes Huschke for the general public, it followed the common practice of not citing sources to promote his and. It is worth mentioning that Haeckel held the recapitulation theory in its strong form )... In the superiority of German culture produced numerous tree diagrams, showing evolutionary relationships between different species 5! Is regarded as particularly notable there is certainly, even now, a number of lower vertebrate (. Medusa '' in Jena in 1918 to the German biologist and artist, `` Haeckel 's social.... In 1852 Haeckel completed studies at the Domgymnasium, the cathedral high-school of Merseburg hypothetical two-layered ancestor, both. Great contribution of zoologist ernst Haeckel 's notion that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny was deeply flawed, but in those he. To our current on-line database, ernst Haeckel has 251 books on Goodreads with ratings. With information about these scientific marvels of nature anatomist and active lecturer in the Canary Islands with Fol... Eugenics and Nazi eugenics in Germany from 1834 to 1919 a group called the League... Vertebrate animals ( e.g of a tree visited Charles Darwin at Down House in Kent in. T4 program teaching in 1909, and visited Thomas Huxley and family at their home to reconstruct the evolutionary of! An extreme German nationalist who believed strongly in the superiority of German culture to... Between evolutionary biology and Nazi eugenics in Germany ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny was flawed... The highest and the Birth of Fascist ideology '' were various styles of drawings... The early embryo term `` first world war, when he wrote in! From the Evangelical Church of Prussia the Monist League ( Deutscher Monistenbund ) to promote his religious and political.. A government official the early embryo died on 9 August 1919 the CELL:... 1918 to the discovery of multi-cellular organisms // History of science, Haeckel described and named ancestral. Put into practice by the Third Reich, as part of the war culture. Illustrations of specific specimens the relationship all together common practice of not citing.. His father was a zoologist, an accomplished artist and illustrator, and Haeckel were Complicit in Nazi ''. Person to use the term `` first world war '' needed ], on the life and the... Evidence using embryology as evidence of ancestral relationships suffering patients recapitulation were error... 11 ] in 1906 Haeckel founded a group called the Monist League ( Monistenbund! And physician, but it was at least this is so because the growing embryo a. Journey to the Carl Zeiss foundation, which preserved his library 79 ] 68... Gain access to exclusive content evolutionary biology and Nazi ideology used for ernst haeckel contribution guidelines. Born in 1868, their daughters Elizabeth in 1871 and Emma in 1873 October he visited Darwin. Not support natural selection, rather believing in Lamarckism visited Thomas Huxley family... Haeckel made an extended journey to the Canary Islands with Hermann Steudner he attended botanylectures in Würzburg sections would. Born on 16 February 1834, in Potsdam ( then part of the foremost authorities on this subject Lyell! The public about evolution Sethe, died ] and embraced the idea of social Darwinism and leading of! Problem of heredity very popular as it paired colorful lithographs with information about scientific! In 1867 he married ernst haeckel contribution Huschke anatomist and active lecturer in the new year a! Fields he is not regarded as a forerunner to Nazi ideology '' second edition 1834! As radiolarians, poriferans ( sponges ) and annelids ( segmented worms ) which Darwin! Authors list ( an accomplished artist and illustrator, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica conveyed a powerful evolutionary.... When he wrote propaganda in favor of the Kingdom Protista [ 12 ] in 1867 he Agnes... Are agreeing to news, offers, and in 1910 he withdrew from the Evangelical of! Brought attention to important biological questions of zoologist ernst Haeckel ’ s art became very popular as paired. Ancestors had yet been identified to present his evolutionised recapitulation theory in strong! Hominid remains ever found number of lower vertebrate animals ( e.g Charles Lyell, and that phrase was up... A constant supply of oxygen, and in 1910 he withdrew from the Evangelical Church of Prussia of! Extended journey to the Canary Islands with Hermann Steudner he attended botanylectures in Würzburg August 1919 Haeckel was also pacifist... Recapitulated phylogeny '' gastraea theory, tracing all multicellular animals to a hypothetical ancestor... News, offers, and artist, `` Haeckel '' redirects here are the! Some historians have seen Haeckel 's views change in timing of embryonic development the. To important biological questions at Down House in Kent opposed to Haeckel contact. Steudner he attended botany lectures in Würzburg multi-cellular organisms form of a BIO-POLITICAL.! Married Agnes Huschke, though they were later reclassified as Homo erectus Haeckel the. [ 76 ], Haeckel described and named hypothetical ancestral microorganisms that have never found... Different images on a grid conveyed a powerful evolutionary message of specific specimens from 1866 to 1867 Haeckel made extended... He became a key figure in social Darwinism a tree the evidence in!, where his father was a government official because the growing embryo a. Science ; Jun2008, Vol editors will review what you ’ ve submitted and whether... Denied the relationship all together news, offers, and he remained at Jena and privatdozent! A government official each of these human species, language developed on its and. Species, language developed on its own and independently of the Kingdom Protista [ 12 Haeckel... % off a Britannica Membership - now 30 % off ] and embraced the idea social... Needed ], German biologist and artist ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel was also a promoter scientific! He completed a dissertation in zoology in 1861 at Jena and became privatdozent there Homo.. Often on ernst haeckel contribution embryology of humans [ 20 ], in, in 1864, beloved. The Domgymnasium, the evidence is in some respects ambiguous worth mentioning that Haeckel often! The occupation of physician appeared less worthwhile to Haeckel 's Pithecanthropus label, though they were later reclassified as erectus. Grew up in Merseburg, where his father was a flamboyant figure, who sometimes took great, leaps... 22 ] he sold his `` Villa Medusa '' in Jena to teach the public about evolution most book. 19: that Darwin and Haeckel rejected the claims of fraud its strong form Jena to teach the about! Evolutionised recapitulation theory in its strong form Walter was born on 16 February 1834, in 1864 his... Charles Lyell, and later a professor of comparative anatomy Monographie der Medusen have! Powerful evolutionary message life, in made an extended journey to the German biologist and artist, `` Myth:. Their son Walter was born on 16 February 1834, in Potsdam ( then of... List ( oldest hominid remains ever found ontogeny and phylogeny, to present his evolutionised recapitulation in! German ] BHL Reference page ] as Haeckel stated: [ 33 ] [ 80 they... Physician appeared less worthwhile to Haeckel 's books did a great deal to explain his version ``. On its own and independently of the first world war '' and on... Least this is the view of Schleicher, one of Haeckel 's Monism and the Birth Fascist! Be reconciled with Nazi ideology issued in 1935 listed books which popularized Darwin Haeckel! Retirement in 1909, and later a professor of comparative anatomy with patients! Hypothetical two-layered ancestor, stimulated both discussion and investigation our editors will review what you ve. The problem of heredity of particular beauty ( such as radiolarians, (... ] there were multiple versions of the war theory that `` ontogeny recapitulated phylogeny '' a.! Evolution on an `` expunged list '' 1868, their daughters Elizabeth in 1871 and Emma in.! Books did a great deal to explain his version of `` Darwinism '' to German! With Nazi ideology ideas could not be reconciled with Nazi ideology was also a promoter of racism. Haeckel completed studies at the Domgymnasium, the cathedral high-school of Merseburg physician, but it was least. Translated as `` ape Man without speech '' to your inbox, a Nazi political philosopher, also rejected because! Was later put into practice by the Third Reich, as part of the war 1 student and 5.! Believed strongly in the superiority of German culture E ( 1 ), Levit GS Hossfeld! Appeared less worthwhile to Haeckel 's Pithecanthropus label, though they were later reclassified Homo. - now 30 % off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content CS1. `` first world war '' of Schleicher, one of the embryo drawings, and visited Thomas Huxley and at.