A Yale Tale: Huxley’s Eohomo

A Yale Tale: Huxley’s Eohomo

In 1876 Thomas Henry Huxley, known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his ardent defense of evolution, came from England to the United States and visited New Haven to meet O.C. Marsh. “This is the most charming picturesque town,” he wrote to his wife, “with the streets lined with elm trees which meet overhead. I have never seen anything like it.”

He was also impressed with the Peabody Museum itself. “I am disposed to think that whether we regard the abundance of material, the number of complete skeletons of the various species, or the extent of geological time covered by the collection, which I had the good fortune to see in New Haven, there is no collection of fossil vertebrates in existence which can be compared with it.”

 
 

In this humorous cartoon Huxley invented an imaginary and very tiny extinct human, which he called “Eohomo,” and showed it riding a real, extinct dog-sized fossil horse discovered by O.C. Marsh, then called Eohippus. Drawn for Marsh by Huxley on his visit to the Peabody in 1876, the original drawing is in the Yale Peabody Museum Archives.

 
Learning Resources. Timeline of Evolution. The Fossils. History of Fossil Hunting. Home Page.