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, 56 (9), 653-60

Karl Ernst Von Baer (1792-1876) and Evolution

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Karl Ernst Von Baer (1792-1876) and Evolution

Sabine Brauckmann. Int J Dev Biol.

Abstract

The research program of Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876) intended to enhance the comparative approach of animal classification by demonstrating vertebrate affinities (homology). Baer visualized his ideas on development and evolution with an unpublished figure of a branching tree. To buttress his reflections on how species-specific embryogenesis produces a branching tree, he worked out a cladogram-like chart, depicting the ontogeny and phylogeny of vertebrate embryos. For Baer, changes in development were responsible for changes in phenotype. I will offer a new interpretation of Baer's ideas about evolution showing that he believed in the transformation of species and announced such views publicly.

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