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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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1948, the ratio of real disposable income per capita between the states with the highest and lowest levels is roughly 2.09, smaller than the analagous ratio for per capita income that year, 2.23.
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.
(45) It is difficult to say if Alciato is the first to formulate this principle, but in his case there is the added interest that it may have been analagous for him to a legal principle which he sets out in another chapter of the same book, a principle which assumes that a witness under oath is telling the truth, providing there is no evident contradiction or improbability.
The act of building a new library as analagous to building the community is the theme of the article by Michelle Ledger in this issue about the development of the outstanding new library of the Town of Cambridge in WA.
So Keesing and Schreiner's provocative reinterpretation of menstrual and childbirth seclusion among the non-Christian Kwaio of Malaita in the 1970-80s suggested that women shared their seclusion not as a state of defiled pollution but a desired condition of sacred danger, analagous to male priests, communicating with ancestral powers (Keesing 1985, 1989; (4) Jolly 2002; cf.
Lewis had this option, since Lewis uses being a maximally connected spacetime (or, perhaps, something analagous to a maximally connected spacetime) as his criterion for distinguishing distinct possible worlds--but Bricker argues that the benefits of the modification outweigh the costs.