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Eugene K. Balon

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Eugene Kornel Balon (1930–2013) was a Canadian ichthyologist and writer.


He graduated from school in Poland and later worked as a researcher in the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava. He later settled in Ontario, Canada. He became a recognized expert in the fauna and ecosystem of Africa. He was a leading expert in ichthyology at the Institute of Ichthyology and Department of Zoology at the University of Canada, Guelph.[1]

Two fish are named after him, the European Gymnocephalus balloons and the African Tilapia balloons.


Balon after studying ichthyology became a critic of the neo-Darwinian view of evolution. He was known for his publications advocating non-Darwinian mechanisms of evolution such as ‘Saltatory ontogeny’ and ‘epigenesis’ which he proposed to explain how variations in ontogeny and novelties in evolution are created. These theories are saltational and Balon was a critic of gradualism in evolution.

He also lectured on evolutionary developmental biology in Austria at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research.[2] Some of his saltational views on evolution appear in the book Environment, Development, and Evolution: Toward a Synthesis with other scientists such as Brian Keith Hall, Roy D. Pearson and Gerd B. Müller (2004).

His paper Evolution by Epigenesis: Farewell to Darwinism, Neo- and Otherwise was published in the controversial journal “Rivista di Biologia,” in which he claims that Darwinians are suppressing the evidence for epigenesis and are refusing to teach it. His views on evolution have been criticised by some scientists. Balon is a signatory to A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.

Creationists sometimes quote mine Balon; however he is not anti-evolution and creationists have misunderstood his publications. Balon has rejected creationism.

Selected publications[edit]

Balon has over 80 scientific publications on ichthyology, below are only his controversial publications on evolution theory:

  • Balon, EK, 1979. The theory of saltation and its application in the ontogeny of fishes: steps and thresholds. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 1979, Volume 4, Number 2, Pages 97-101. Online
  • Balon, EK, 2001. Saltatory Ontogeny and the Life-History Model: Neglected Processes and Patterns of Evolution. Journal of Bioeconomics, 2001, Volume 3, Number 1, Pages 1-26. Online
  • Balon, EK, 2002. Epigenetic Processes, when Natura Non Facit Saltum Becomes a Myth, and Alternative Ontogenies a Mechanism of Evolution Environmental Biology of Fishes. Volume 65, Number 1, Pages 1-35. Online
  • Balon, EK, 2004. Evolution by epigenesis: Farewell to Darwinism, Neo-and Otherwise. Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum 97: 269-312. Online