Monday, February 4, 2008

Trilobites by Ernst Haeckel

Ernst Haeckel was an Artist, Naturalist, Philosopher and Embryologist. He is perhaps best known as the originator of the theory that "Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny", which states that embryonic development mirrors the evolutionary development of an individual organism. Unfortunately, Haeckel did distort his data to back his theoretical claims, often embellishing illustrations to better suit the support of his ideas. Never the less, he did contribute the crucial concept of the interconnectivity of all elements of the natural universe, and also coined the term "ecology". He was an invertebrate zoologist who, despite errors which are now apparent in his theories, opened our eyes to the astonishing beauty of the often hidden forms of many creatures. As with many powerful ideas, his were subverted by racists and nationalists and used to support the concept of social Darwinism, a theory at odds with Symbiosis. Despite such controversies, his artistic works continue to inspire a deeper appreciation of biodiversity and natural beauty.