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in biology, the similarities in function, but differences in evolutionary origin, of body structures in different organisms. For example, the wing of a bird is analogous to the wing of an insect, since both are used for flight. However, there is no common ancestral origin in the evolution of these structures: While the wings of birds are modified skeletal forelimbs, insect wings are extensions of the body wall. Although insects and birds do have a very remote common ancestry (more than 600 million years ago), the wings of the two groups evolved after their ancestries had separated. See also homologyhomology
, in biology, the correspondence between structures of different species that is attributable to their evolutionary descent from a common ancestor. For example, the forelimbs of vertebrates, such as the wing of bird or bat, and the foreleg of an amphibian, are
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a comparison made to show a degree of similarity, but not an exact identity, between phenomena. In sociology, analogies are often made between social phenomena and mechanical or organic phenomena. This can be seen in classical forms of sociological functionalism in which societies are often seen as ‘machine-like’ or, more usually, ‘organism-like’ entities whose parts interrelate and reinforce each other. Although sometimes useful, and perhaps even indispensable in any science, recourse to analogies is often suspect. Assumptions made or relationships imputed (e.g. ‘social needs’ analogous with ‘animal needs’) require separate justification. The use of analogies therefore always involves risks. See MODEL.



a similarity in some respects between objects, phenomena, processes, and so forth. In conclusions drawn by analogy, knowledge gained from the examination of a certain object, known as “the model” is transferred to another object which is less well studied in certain aspects—less accessible to experiment, less discernible, and so forth. In relation to concrete objects, conclusions drawn by analogy are, generally speaking, only probabilistic; they are one of the sources of scientific hypotheses and inductive reasoning and play an important role in scientific discoveries. If, on the other hand, the inferences drawn by analogy relate to abstract objects, then under certain conditions (in particular, with the establishment of isomorphic or homomorphic relations between them) they are capable of yielding determinate conclusions.


Aristotle. Analitiki pervaia i vtoraia. Moscow, 1952.
Asmus, V. F. Logika. Moscow, 1947.
Mill, J. S. Sistema logiki sillogicheskoi i induktivnoi, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1914. (Translated from English.)
Polya, G. Matematika i pravdopodobnye rassuzhdeniia. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from English.)
Uemov, A. I. “Osnovnye formy i pravila vyvodov po analogii.” In Problemy logiki nauchnogo Poznaniia. Moscow, 1964.
Venikov, V. A. Teoriia podobiia i modelirovanie primeniteVno k zadacham elektroenergetiki. Moscow, 1966.
Corafas, D. N. Sistemy imoderlirovanie. Moscow, 1967. (Translated from English.)



1. Biology the relationship between analogous organs or parts
2. Logic maths a form of reasoning in which a similarity between two or more things is inferred from a known similarity between them in other respects
References in periodicals archive ?
The European Constitution was an analagous process of preparation.
Mas also states that a speedloader would be analagous to the magazine for a revolver.
Yeats's late cyclical and apocalyptic vision of history, most famously articulated in 'The Second Coming', is analagous to Benjamin's 'conception of the present as now-time shot through with splinters of messianic time'.
While you can obtain a database (the data being analagous to numbers in the boxes of a tax return), unless you know precisely how "all the fields relate to each other (via the instruction book), you will not be able to use the database to its fullest.
09, smaller than the analagous ratio for per capita income that year, 2.
In a comment analagous to the complaints made by Londoner's against the European foreigners in Sir Thomas More, Fynes Moryson makes a metaphorical connection between the Irish diet and disease:
Power said:"Excessive sweating worsens the severity of traumatic brain inury and is analagous to not wearing a helmet.
Brooks situates his study in the roughly analagous notions that both settlers and first people shared about honour, family, captivity, and exchange.
When Britain's abortion law was modified in 1990 with the 24-week gestation limit, the concept of "serious disability" was not defined (somewhat analagous to Canada's Parliament not defining "sexual orientation" in its Charter of Rights legislation).
In the Appendix Hsi Tzu we read: "Thus the shutting of a door is analagous to Kun (Earth); the opening of a door to Qian (Heaven).
An analagous dismay, he points out, existed in academia, where "all the West's academic and strategic experts on the region could, circa 1991, barely fill a single lecture hall," and specialists in Soviet affairs had to recycle themselves as analysts of this "new" area.
The experience motivated the president and senior offciers of the college to develop a deliberative plan to guide Macalester's budgetary decisions in times of crisis or recessiosn, in a manner analagous to a rehearsed evacuation plan in the event of a fire.