Embryos inspire evolution book, according to reports from Reuters, 8 Jan 2008 and The New York Observer, 18 Jan 2008. Palaeontologist Neil Shubin has recently published a book entitled Your Inner Fish: A Journey Through the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body where he claims the human body is made from parts from many other creatures that evolved over millions years. The title is a reference to a fossil found by Shubin, which the Reuters article describes as follows: “In 2006, the public was overwhelmed with news of the discovery of Tiktaalik roseae, a fossil “fishapod’ that represents the transition between fish and four-legged animals, known as tetrapods. Shubin claims Tiktaalik “gave us powerful new insights into the invasion of land by fish over 375 million years ago.”

Shubin’s inspiration for his strong evolutionary beliefs came from observing embryos when he was a student at Harvard University. According to Reuters “Shubin realized that fish, frog and chicken embryos looked alike and that there is a common architecture within all of them. For example, a fish and a human look identical for weeks after fertilization.”

The New York Observer article is entitled “Creationist’s Nightmare: An Evolutionary Anatomy Lesson” and has the following comment from Donald Johansen, one of the palaeontologists who found “Lucy”. “Creationists will want this book banned because it presents irrefutable evidence for a transitional creature that set the stage for the journey from sea to land.”

Reuters, New York Observer

Editorial Comment: Did Neil Shubin (or whoever wrote the article for Reuters) actually observe any fish, chicken and human embryos when they were students? One editor of this newsletter used to teach embryology to university students using microscope slides and videos of chicken embryos. In only 72 hours starting from fertilisation, chicken embryos are recognisably birds and look nothing like a 72 hour human embryo, and after only three weeks a chicken embryo has developed into a fully formed chicken. A zebra fish (often used in gene research) is a fully formed fish in just five days.

We suspect Shubin sees things through diagrams originally published in the 1870’s by Haeckel, which claimed to show similarities between many vertebrates, including fish, chickens and humans. The diagrams were exposed as frauds by Wilhlem His within Haeckel’s lifetime, but the diagrams, and the idea that embryology shows evolution, have been published in biology textbooks ever since, and Shubin continues to perpetrate this fraud.

We also wonder where Reuters got the idea that the public was “overwhelmed” by the discovery of Tiktaalik. In 2006 when reports of the fossil were published in the scientific news we expected to be bombarded with questions about it at public Creation Research meetings, but in the two years since the fossil was presented to the world we have had just one statement and not even one question, in spite of the fact we have had numerous meetings on university and college campuses, as well as public meetings. (Ref. embryology, intermediate, transition)

Evidence News 18 March 2008