biogenetic law


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biogenetic law

n.
The discredited theory that the stages in an organism's embryonic development repeat the stages in the evolutionary history of the species. Also called Haeckel's law, recapitulation theory.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Alternatively, it has been suggested that web asymmetry is an evolutionary derived trait and that spiders recapitulate this during individual development (the biogenetic law) such that young spiders build symmetric webs and older spiders asymmetric webs even in the absence of any adaptive advantage (Eberhard et al.
Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) is known even to casual students of the history of Darwinism for those notorious drawings illustrating his "biogenetic law," a revival of the claim that the anatomical features of modern embryos represent key prior stages of our species' evolutionary past: "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" as we used to say.
Even Dunbar drew on the idea that each race had to go though its childhood, a racialized version of the 19th-century "biogenetic law" that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny--that is, that the stages of an individual's growth rehearse the development of the species, or in this case, that the dim "Negro" race had vet to go through the stages of development that other, putatively more advanced, races already had.