Ernst Haeckel


Ernst Haeckel : biography

16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919

Haeckel divided human beings into ten races, of which the Caucasian was the highest and the primitives were doomed to extinction.John P. Jackson, Nadine M. Weidman Race, Racism, and science: social impact and interaction, Rutgers University Press, 2005, p. 87 Haeckel claimed that Negros have stronger and more freely movable toes than any other race which is evidence that Negros are related to apes because when apes stop climbing in trees they hold on to the trees with their toes, Haeckel compared Negros to “four-handed” apes. Haeckel also believed Negros were savages and that Whites were the most civilised.Gustav Jahoda, Images of savages: ancients roots of modern prejudice in Western culture, 1999, p. 83

However, Robert J. Richards notes: "Haeckel, on his travels to Ceylon and Indonesia, often formed closer and more intimate relations with natives, even members of the untouchable classes, than with the European colonials."Robert J. Richards, "Myth 19: That Darwin and Haeckel Were Complicit in Nazi Biology," in Ronald L. Numbers, ed., Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religioin, Harvard University Press, 2009, p. 174.,

Asia hypothesis

Haeckel claimed the origin of humanity was to be found in Asia: he believed that Hindustan (South Asia) was the actual location where the first humans had evolved. Haeckel argued that humans were closely related to the primates of Southeast Asia and rejected Darwin’s hypothesis of Africa.Prehistoric past: The four billion year history of life on earth, Douglas Palmer, p. 43Human evolution, a guide to the debates, Brian Regal, p. 73-75

Haeckel later claimed that the missing link was to be found on the lost continent of Lemuria located in the Indian Ocean, he believed that Lemuria was the home of the first humans and that Asia was the home of many of the earliest primates, he thus supported that Asia was the cradle of hominid evolution. Haeckel also claimed that Lemuria connected Asia and Africa which allowed the migration of humans to the rest of the world.Asian Paleoanthropology: From Africa to China and beyond, Christopher J Norton, David R Braun, p. 4From here to Eternity: Ernst Haeckel and the scientific faith, Mario A. Di Gregorio p. 480

In Haeckel’s book The History of Creation (1884) he included migration routes which he thought the first humans had used outside of Lemuria.

Awards and honors

He was awarded the title of Excellency by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1907 and the Linnean Society of London’s prestigious Darwin-Wallace Medal in 1908. In the United States, Mount Haeckel, a summit in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, overlooking the Evolution Basin, is named in his honor, as is another Mount Haeckel, a summit in New Zealand; and the asteroid 12323 Haeckel.