Ontogeny and Phylogeny Despite the fact that the 'law of biogenesis' (ontogeny recapitul

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Ontogeny and Phylogeny Despite the fact that the "law of biogenesis" (ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny) was discredited early in this century, one still reads or hears references to its putative truth, and thus articles such as the following are still necessary. Take a look at "Human embryology and the law of biogenesis," by Gunter Rager (Institute of Anatomy, Fribourg, Switzerland), in Rivista di Biologia-Biology Forum 79 (4), 1986, pp. 449-459. Rager writes: The law of biogenesis was introduced using faked material. Apart from that it suffers from a number of inconsistencies. There are many data which do not fit. The explanatory power of this law is poor because it is not able to make predictions for ontogenetic mechanisms and processes. Haeckel's assertion that the law of biogenesis is the only possible explanation for similarities in the development of different species can no longer be held upright because an alternative view is possible...With the improvement of our scientific tools we can state that ontogeny is much better known than phylogeny, conditions and causes for differentiation and maturation can be found in ontogeny only, and phylogeny is based on ontogeny. Finally we have seen that despite of many similarities with other species human development is always specifically human. (p. 459)


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