Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny

This is really more show notes for the podcast we did yesterday.


Ontogeny is the growth (size change) and development (shape change) of an individual organism; phylogeny is the evolutionary history of a species. Haeckel’s recapitulation theory claims that the development of the individual of every species fully repeats the evolutionary development of that species. Otherwise put, each successive stage in the development of an individual represents one of the adult forms that appeared in its evolutionary history. Haeckel formulated his theory as such: “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. This notion later became simply known as recapitulation.


It applies in some cases in biology but I love how it makes sense of something in art. And I feel a licence to recapitulate, which without legitimacy or consciousness I have found a bit depressing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *