Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Biogenetic Law

Haeckel’s nineteenth century law, which asserted that ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’; that embryological stages reflect completely the phylogenetic stages through which more thoroughly evolved organisms have passed. Viewed today as too simplistic, the original notion was based on observations such as gill slits and tails that appear in early stages of mammalian development. Aka biogenic law, recapitulation.

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