Atavisms aren’t a good explanation of cancer

I made a video about that goofy atavism theory of cancer by Davies and Lineweaver. It’s really more of an opportunity to talk about the difference between Haeckel and von Baer, and, mainly, play with Play-Doh.


  1. imback says

    Their hypothesis reminds me of Greg Bear’s “Darwin’s Radio” in which essentially a protected core of ancient genes responds to modern stress and induces a saltation of humans into some new advanced hopeful monster that presumably saves the world. I hated that book and haven’t read the sequel or any Greg Bear since. I really liked his older “Blood Music” because it didn’t insist its similarly fantastic premise was somehow a credible reality.

  2. says

    Ugh. “Darwin’s Radio.” Hated it. Also hated how Bear bragged in interviews about his expertise in molecular biology.

  3. DanDare says

    Thanks for that video. Haekel’s ideas do live on. I remember as a child my mum often refered to them as if they were fact. I think the ideas have sat in some dusty corner of my brain ever since. Glad to be able to purge them at last.