Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Scala Naturae

Medieval rationale for the organization of life, literally a scale of nature, in which all organisms were arranged from least complex (most imperfect) upwards to the most complex and perfect (humans, angels, archangels); the ordained categories of creatures were immutable, or unchanging, since their creation. Can be traced to Plato and Aristotle, but most fully developed by Gottfried von Leibniz (1646-1716), German philosopher and mathematician. Aka ladder of nature and Great Chain of Being.

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