recapitulation theory

(redirected from Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny)
Also found in: Dictionary, Medical, Idioms.

recapitulation theory

[‚rē·kə‚pich·ə′lā·shən ‚thē·ə·rē]
(biology)
The biological theory that an organism passes through developmental stages resembling various stages in the phylogeny of its group; ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Also known as biogenetic law; Haeckel's law.
References in periodicals archive ?
Darwin's considerable popularity in Germany was largely due to the zoologist Ernst Haeckel, best known for his evolutionist formula, "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." There have, of course, been numerous studies of Haeckel's artistic legacy, most notably his illustrations of microscopic and marine creatures.
In part 3, "History Writing Great Men Writing History," Thurtle explains how the turn-of-the-century narratives operated by a logic of recapitulation (ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny: the developmental story of the individual as microcosm of the species).
This section does a good job of summarizing the relevant fields and I am impressed that the authors are careful not to overstate the case or pass on discarded generalizations such as "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." The chapter ends with a discussion of what types of evidence would put into question our understanding of evolution, and the complete lack of such evidence to date.