Polygenesis


Also found in: Dictionary, Medical, Wikipedia.

Polygenesis

 

(also polyphylesis), the conjectured origin of a systematic group of organisms (taxon) from two or more ancestral groups as a result of convergence. Some botanists believe, for example, that dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous plants originated from different ancestors and represent two parallel lines of flowering plants, the resemblance between them being the result of convergence.

It has been conjectured that different groups of animals have a polygenetic origin. It is likely, for example, that large groups of mammals originated from different groups of reptiles, the Therapsida. Such cases, sometimes said to be paragenetic, are not polygenetic, since there was only one basic original group. Therefore, if a group of organisms once considered monogenetic has elements of different origins, it should be divided into as many taxonomic entities as necessary to represent the separate and differently related groups constituting it. “There is no place in the phylogenetic system for polygenetic groups. Polygenesis is merely an expression of the imperfection of our classification” (I. I. Shmal’gauzen, Problemy darvinizma, Leningrad, 1969, p. 400).

Particularly unacceptable are artificial taxa for modern evolutionary systematics, one of the main principles of which is the classification of organisms according to the informational content of their genetic program. The taxa of evolutionary systematics can only be monogenetic.

REFERENCE

Mayr, E. Printsipy zoologicheskoi sistematiki. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from English.)

A. L. TAKHTADZHIAN

References in periodicals archive ?
These pedogenic gravels were probably formed in different times and sites within the soil matrix, which strongly supports the idea of their use as indicators of soil polygenesis. On the other hand, for lithopedogenic gravels, mostly comprising Proterozoic shale and quartzite fragments, the impregnation by soil-derived oxides may have spanned longer times and cycles of soil formation.
Theories about multiple origins for human beings, the lines developing in parallel in different regions ("polygenesis"), do crop up from time to time.
The problem became even more complicated when a fierce controversy developed over the question of monogenesis or polygenesis. Was mankind created only once, or had there been several successive creations of man?
The egalitarian dynamic latent in the ideal of a humanity united by reason was undermined by the placing of humans squarely in the natural world, to be subdivided and ranked according to the same principles of speciation as the animal kingdom; in nineteenth-century France especially, ideas of polygenesis were widely accepted, enlarging the potential for ideologies of racial subordination.
One such area of science was polygenesis, which gave credence to Black Africans as inherently inferior.
While her descriptions of polygenesis, monogenesis, and polycentrism are well-described, her account of human evolution smacks of early twentieth-century evolutionary theory rather than contemporary theory.
Slavery's apologists often rested their argument on the theory of polygenesis, which held that the races were created separately--a view that was also held by many anti-slavery activists who still saw blacks as inferior, despite their arguments against the slave system.
See Wolfgang Clemen, Das Problem des Stilwandels in der englischen Dichtung, 8-19, who comments on the "polygenesis" of style.
His study on "Slavery's Champions Stood at Odds: Polygenesis and the Defense of Slavery" was selected by a committee at the Richards Civil War Era Center at the Pennsylvania State University.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, "polygenesis," the theory that each "race" of man developed from distinctively different progenitors, had "supplanted monogenesis as the new scientific common sense" and posited "a new kind of human body" permanently and essentially "endowed with 'race'" (48).
And attendant to such claims, Kidd points out, were ideas about monogenesis and polygenesis, and he deftly shows how these arguments impacted nineteenth century discussions about slavery and abolitionism (particularly in the United States), for example, and about the contested claims of Jesus' "race" and "ethnicity." In addition, Kidd contextualizes the forms of "racialised religion" (203) that emerged during the nineteenth century (e.g., Mormonism and Theosophy) and twentieth century (e.g., Christian Identity Movement), and locates these groups, not as independent Protestant offshoots necessarily, but into the stream of biblical interpretation through racialized lenses.
For example, Sandor Gilman draws radical conclusions from half a sentence in Deronda: 'And one man differs from another, as we all differ from the Bosjesman', (2) claiming that this assumes 'a polygenetic view of race', (3) polygenesis being the belief that races have evolved from more than one set of ancestors so that they are seen as belonging to different lineages.