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Homology, Redux: Revisiting Pre-Darwinian Debates within Comparative Biology
July 24, 2013
Dr. Catherine Kendig, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Missouri Western State University, and Resident Fellow at the Linda Hall Library.
The concepts of homology and analogy continue to be a source of heated discussion within comparative anatomy and comparative genomics. Richard Owen provided the first formal distinction between the similarity of structure or “homology” and the similarity of function or “analogy.” His contribution was pivotal to the development of early 19th-century British biology. Dr. Catherine Kendig, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Missouri Western State University, investigates both the longstanding pre-Darwinian debates within comparative biology and analyzes the recent impact of the new evolutionary developmental synthesis (the approach that incorporates ecology, developmental plasticity, as well as genetics to explain evolutionary change) on the current meaning and use of these concepts.