More Evidence for Evolution: Did God Create Humans with Gill Slits?

Human embryo compared to other animals

Gary: At one time in history, most people in our western culture believed that human existence began in “the womb” as a tiny miniature version of the infant we see at birth. Little did they know, that in reality, every human starts off his or her existence looking like a fish!

But what should we expect? These people had been indoctrinated for more than a millennia that humans were created in the image of God. But if human beings were created by God, in his image, as the Judeo-Christian holy book says, why on earth did God create human embryos to look like fish? Is God a fish??

Jerry Coyne, biologist and professor, University of Chicago: Well before the time of Darwin, biologists noticed some odd peculiarities when studying how animals develop (embryology) and when studying the similarities and differences in the structure of different animals (comparative anatomy) that did not make sense. For example, all vertebrates [creatures with a spinal column] begin development in the same way, looking rather like an embryonic fish. As development proceeds, different species begin to diverge—but in weird ways. Some blood vessels, nerves, and organs that were present in the embryos of all species at the start suddenly disappear, while others go through strange contortions and migrations. Eventually, the dance of development culminates in the very different adult forms of fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and mammals. Nevertheless, when development begins, they look very much alike.

It was [Charles] Darwin who reconciled these [odd peculiarities] found in embryology that filled the textbooks of his time, and showed that the puzzling features of development suddenly made perfect sense under the unifying idea of evolution. Embryology rises greatly in interest, when we thus look at the embryo as a picture, more or less obscured, of the common parent-form [ancestor] of each great class of animals.

…Why do different vertebrates, which wind up looking very different from one another, all begin development looking like a fish embryo? Why do mammals form their heads and faces from the very same embryonic structures that become the gills of fish? Why do vertebrate embryos go through such a contorted sequence of changes in the circulatory system? Why don’t human embryos, or lizard embryos, begin development with their adult circulatory systems already in place, rather than making a lot of changes in what developed earlier [in fish and amphibians]? And why does our sequence of mimic the order of our ancestors (fish to amphibian to reptile to mammal)? As Darwin argued in The Origin, it’s not because human embryos experience a series of environments during development to which they must successively adapt—first a fishlike one, then a reptilian one, and so on. …[E]ach vertebrate undergoes development in a series of stages, and the sequence of those stages happens to follow the evolutionary sequence of its [evolutionary] ancestors.

…All vertebrates begin development looking like embyronic fish because we all descended from a fishlike ancestor with a fishlike embryo. [As the embryo develops] we see strange contortions and disappearances of organs, blood vessels, and gill slits because descendants still carry the genes and developmental programs of [evolutionary] ancestors. And the sequence of developmental changes also makes sense: at one stage of development mammals have an embryonic circulatory system like that of reptiles, but we don’t see the converse situation. Why? Because mammals descended from early reptiles and not vice versa!

Why Evolution is True, pp. 73-79

Gary: Creationists must ask themselves this question: Why did God create humans with gill slits?

fetal development at 4 weeks
Fish or human? (It is a 4 week old human embryo)






End of post.

12 thoughts on “More Evidence for Evolution: Did God Create Humans with Gill Slits?

  1. Indeed, why Adam & Eve and not Adam & Steve, or Eva & Eve, or just one or two hermaphrodites, or one or two androgenous beings to begin with?!

    Or indeed (the need for) any beings or creations at all?!

    And if someone (religious or otherwise) were to state that “we live in a pocket of this cosmos because that is what cosmoses are for: the habitation and expression of life”, whether by divine creation or natural evolution, then the statement is and can be considered highly problematic in at least nine areas: teleology, dysteleology, modern philosophical naturalism, anthropocentrism, the anthropic principle (or the anthropic bias or the anthropic cosmological principle), the mediocrity principle, the Copernican principle, cosmicism and cosmic indifferentism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope. Human embryos have gill slits.

      …fish embryos and human embryos both have gill slits. In fish they develop into gills, but in humans they disappear before birth.


      The embryos of humans and other nonaquatic vertebrates exhibit gill slits even though they never breathe through gills.


      Gary: I never claimed that human embryos have gills, only gill slits.


      1. The situation is now one of semantics, mostly, but from your second link:

        ” if we “never breathe” through the structures, then in what sense is it appropriate to call the structures “gill slits,” since something can only be a “gill” if it’s being used as a respiratory organ? It isn’t appropriate because humans don’t breathe through these structures and therefore they can’t be gills.”

        That quotation is a direct reply to the Briannica quote you have above the second link.


      2. “fish embryos and human embryos both have gill slits. In fish they develop into gills, but in humans they disappear before birth.”

        Its a genius design. Give humans temprorary gills when they live in water temporarily in the womb, and remove them when they don’t anymore. Evolution doesn’t exist so wouldn’t know to remove them.


        1. What physiological function do the gill slits of human embryos serve? Answer: None.

          So your god designed humans to have gill slits only during the time period in which they are developing in the amniotic fluid of the “womb”…but never made these structures operational?? Doesn’t sound like a very “intelligent” designer.


  2. Off topic here, but I remember you sending Randal Rauser a book by Raymond Brown – last year I think. Did he ever get back to you about his thoughts on the book?


  3. Why wouldn’t God create humans to temporarily (a key word here) have gills when they have to live in water in the womb? The very fact that we lose them before exiting the womb proves design. If it were evolution, we would keep them.


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