I established the opposite view, that this history of the embryo (ontogeny) must be completed by a second, equally valuable, and closely connected branch of thought - the history of race (phylogeny). Both of these branches of evolutionary science, are, in my opinion, in the closest causal connection; this arises from the reciprocal action of the laws of heredity and adaptation... 'ontogenesis is a brief and rapid recapitulation of phylogenesis, determined by the physiological functions of heredity (generation) and adaptation (maintenance).
Phylogeny and ontogeny are, therefore, the two coordinated branches of morphology. Phylogeny is the developmental history [Entwickelungsgeschichte] of the abstract, genealogical individual; ontogeny, on the other hand, is the developmental history of the concrete, morphological individual.
We are compelled by reflection to recognize that God is not to be placed against the material world [as in Christianity], but must be placed as a 'divine power' or 'moving spirit' within the cosmos itself ... All the wonderful phenomena of nature around us, organic as well as inorganic, are only various products of one and the same original force.
An irrefutable proof that such single-celled primaeval animals really existed as the direct ancestors of Man, is furnished according to the fundamental law of biogeny by the fact that the human egg is nothing more than a simple cell.
Among the Spartans all newly born children were subject to a careful examination or selection. All those that were weak, sickly, or affected with any bodily infirmity, were killed. Only the perfectly healthy and strong children were allowed to live, and they alone afterwards propagated the race.
In the course of individual development, inherited characters appear, in general, earlier than adaptive ones, and the earlier a certain character appears in ontogeny, the further back must lie in time when it was acquired by its ancestors.
As our mother earth is a mere speck in the sunbeam in the illimitable universe, so man himself is but a tiny grain of protoplasm in the perishable framework of organic nature. [This] clearly indicates the true place of man in nature, but it dissipates the prevalent illusion of man's supreme importance and the arrogance with which he sets himself apart from the illimitable universe and exalts himself to the position of its most valuable element.