Animalculists

Animalculists

 

17th-century biologists who thought that a spermatozoon contained a preformed grown animal in microscopic form and that embryo development consisted merely of increase in size and change in consistency of the organs whereby they ceased to be transparent. Contrary to the ovists, the animalculists viewed the egg as the source of nourishment for the spermatozoon. One of the most prominent animalculists was A. van Leeuwenhoek. Animalculists supported preformation.

References in periodicals archive ?
21) By the end of the seventeenth century there were two competing groups in this category of thinkers: the ovists, who argued that the whole embryo existed preformed in the ovary, and the animalculists, who claimed the same for the sperm.
23 Gasking describes how the early preformationists were all ovists (48), but beginning with Leeuwenhoek in 1683 animalculists became increasingly popular (56).
In keeping with later animalculist theories that suggested that the full embryo existed in the sperm, the beautiful Absalom seems to have sprung complete from his father's seed.