Journal of the History of Biology 54 (3):447-481 (2021)

Authors
Hélio Silva
École des hautes études en sciences sociale
Abstract
The aim of this work is to present the thesis “On the Ontogenetic Evolution of the Human Embryo in its Relations with Phylogenesis,” by Affonso Regulo de Oliveira Fausto, published in Brazil in 1890. To our knowledge, it was one of the first Brazilian academic works focused specifically on evolution. It was also the first doctoral thesis that addressed the topic of recapitulation in order to analyze what was then called the progressive evolution of the human species in tandem with the embryological development of the individuals that would constitute the Brazilian “type.” In the present work, we analyze the author’s thesis in relation to its sources, concepts, as well as the country’s political context at the time of its publication. Fausto’s text, in which he explicitly recognized the influence of Ernst Haeckel’s recapitulation theory, represents a window to understand better a concept of nation based on science and on the idea of inexorable progress that was accepted in Brazil at the end of the nineteenth century.
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DOI 10.1007/s10739-021-09651-8
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The Mismeasure of Man.Stephen Jay Gould - 1981 - W.W. Norton and Company.

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