Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The Biogenetic Law and the Gastraea Theory: From Ernst Haeckel´s Discoveries to Contemporary Views

Version 1 : Received: 16 June 2020 / Approved: 17 June 2020 / Online: 17 June 2020 (09:59:46 CEST)

How to cite: Levit, G.S.; Hoßfeld, U.; Naumann, B.; Lukas, P.; Olsson, L. The Biogenetic Law and the Gastraea Theory: From Ernst Haeckel´s Discoveries to Contemporary Views. Preprints 2020, 2020060215 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0215.v1). Levit, G.S.; Hoßfeld, U.; Naumann, B.; Lukas, P.; Olsson, L. The Biogenetic Law and the Gastraea Theory: From Ernst Haeckel´s Discoveries to Contemporary Views. Preprints 2020, 2020060215 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0215.v1).

Abstract

More than 150 years ago, in 1866, Ernst Haeckel published a book in two volumes called "Generelle Morphologie der Organismen" (General Morphology of Organisms) in the first volume of which he formulated his Biogenetic law, famously stating that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny (Rieppel 2019). Here we describe Haeckel´s original idea as first formulated in the “Generelle Morphologie der Organismen” and later further developed in other publications until the present situation in which molecular data are used to test the "hour-glass model", which can be seen as a modern version of the biogenetic law. We also tell the story about his discovery, while travelling in Norway, of an unknown organism, Magosphaera planula, that was important in that it helped to precipitate his ideas into what was to become the Gastraea theory. We also follow the further development and reformulations of the Gastraea theory by other scientists, notably the Russian school (Levit, 2007). Ilya Metchnikov developed the Phagocytella hypothesis for the origin of metazoans based on studies of a colonial flagellate. Alexey Zakhvatin focused on deducing the ancestral life cycle and the cell types of the last common ancestor of all metazoans, and Mikhailov recently pursued this line of research further.

Subject Areas

ontogeny; phylogeny; heterochrony; Magosphaera planula

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