Spontaneous generation  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Spontaneous generation or Equivocal generation is an obsolete theory regarding the origin of life from inanimate matter, which held that this process was a commonplace and everyday occurrence, as distinguished from univocal generation, or reproduction from parent(s). The theory was synthesized by Aristotle, who compiled and expanded the work of prior natural philosophers and the various ancient explanations of the appearance of organisms; it held sway for two millennia. It is generally accepted to have been ultimately disproven in the 19th Century by the experiments of Louis Pasteur, expanding upon the experiments of other scientists before him (such as Francesco Redi who had performed similar experiments in the 17th century). Ultimately, it was succeeded by germ theory and cell theory.

The disproof of ongoing spontaneous generation is no longer controversial, now that the life cycles of various life forms have been well documented. However, the question of abiogenesis, how living things originally arose from non-living material, remains relevant today.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Spontaneous generation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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