Dawkins & Giraffe Laryngeal Nerve Hoax Exposed

In a now famous clip of a giraffe dissection, Professor Richard Dawkins argues that the course of the left recurrent laryngeal nerve in the giraffe provides evidence that God doesn’t exist. Why? Because if a Designer was really behind evolution, then he has to be pretty stupid to have the nerve travel all the way down the neck, looping around the arch of the aorta, before coming back up to the larynx.

Is Professor Dawkins right?

In this video we take a look at the anatomy of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. Far from being evidence against intelligent design, the recurrent laryngeal nerve, it turns out, is a powerful example of great design.

(Original clip from Channel 4’s Inside Nature’s Giants, then seen on Nat Geo. Uploaded to YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1a1Ek-HD0)


– In video reference can be checked here: https://www.bartleby.com/107/205.html

For more references of the anatomy of the RLN see:

– THIEME Atlas of Anatomy Head and Neck, pg 539 (2016)
– Lippincott’s concise illustrated anatomy. Vol. 3, Head & neck / Ben Pansky, Thomas R. Gest, Pg. 338 (2014)

Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig quotes a German textbook in his paper on the subject which confirms the rather obvious fact that the RLN of the giraffe is also a mixed sensorimotor nerve. In fact, he shows that in the original video you can literally see the branches near the heart!


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