Ernst Haeckel Illustrations


Naturliche Schopfungeschichte   1868  Frontispiece



    Naturliche Schopfungeschichte  1870  p.576



    History of Creation Volume II  1879  p.308



    History of Creation Volume II  1879  p.309



    The Evolution of Man Volume II  1892  p.160



The Caucasian, or Mediterranean man (Homo Mediterraneus), has from time immemorial been placed as the head of all races of men, as the most highly developed and perfect.    The History of Creation v.2  (1892)  p.429

In order to be convinced of this important result, it is above all things necessary to study and compare the mental life of wild savages and of children. At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the Negro tribes.    The History of Creation v.2  (1892)  pp.489-490

In many of these languages there are numerals only for one, two, and three: no Australian language counts beyond four. Very many wild tribes can count no further than ten or twenty, whereas some very clever dogs have been made to count up to forty and even beyond sixty.    The History of Creation v.2  (1892)  p.490

The difference between the reason of a Goethe, a Kant, a Lamarck, or a Darwin, and that of the lowest savage, a Vedda, an Akka, a native Australian, or a Patagonian, is much greater than the graduated difference between the reason of the latter and the most "rational" mammals, the anthropoid apes, or even the papiomorpha, the dog, or the elephant.    The Riddle of the Universe   (1900)   p.125

The value of the life of these lower savages is like that of the anthropoid apes, or very little higher. All recent travelers who have carefully observed them in their native lands, and studied their bodily structure and psychic life, agree in this opinion.    The Wonders of Life  (1905)  p.393

These lower races (such as the Veddahs or Austrailan negroes) are psychologically nearer to the mammals (apes or dogs) than to civilised Europeans; we must, therefore, assign a totally different value to their lives.    The Wonders of Life   (1904)  p.406


The present generation can hardly understand the influence Haeckel exercised through these books upon the minds of youth, of laymen in general, and also upon large sections of the professional world. ~ Richard Goldschmidt

Haeckel was the chief apostle of evolution in Germany. Nordenskiold (1929) argues that he was even more influential than Darwin in convincing the world of the truth of evolution. Yet influential as Haeckel was among scientists, his general impact was even greater... His major popular work Weltratsel ("The Riddle of the Universe"; 1899), was among the most spectacular successes in the history of printing. It sold 100,000 copies in its first year, went through ten editions by 1919, was translated into twenty-five languages, and had sold almost half a million copies in Germany alone by 1933.  ~ Stephen Jay Gould

Haeckel would become the foremost champion of Darwinism not only in Germany but throughout the world. Prior to the First World War, more people learned of evolutionary theory through his voluminous publications than through any other source. His Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte (Natural history of creation, 1868) went through twelve German editions (1868-1920) and appeared in two English translations as The History of Creation. Erik Nordenskiold, in the first decades of the twentieth century judged it "the chief source of the world's knowledge of Darwinism." The crumbling detritus of this synthetic work can still be found scattered along the shelves of most used-book stores. Die Weltrathsel (The world puzzles, 1899), which placed evolutionary ideas in a broader philosophical and social context, sold over forty thousand copies in the first year of its publication and well over fifteen times that during the next quarter century -- and this just in the German editions. (By contrast, during the three decades between 1859 and 1890, Darwin's Origin of Species sold only some thirty-nine thousand copies in the six English editions.) By 1912 Die Weltrathsel had been translated, according to Haeckel's own meticulous tabulations, into twenty-four languages, including Armenian, Chinese, Hebrew, Sanskrit, and Esperanto. ~ Robert Richards


See also: More Illustrations

See also: The Darwin-Wallace Medal

See also: Piltdown

Return to: Consequences  Haeckel