This chapter discusses the development of embryology. Experimental embryology, which began in the 1880s, aimed to discover the actual physicochemical processes by which the adult developed from the egg. Referred to by its founders as “developmental mechanics”, it originated from the premise that organisms could be understood in the same way as machines. Its findings however, caused biologists to stand back somewhat as their studies revealed a complexity of development that confronted the general aim of understanding the organism in terms of its parts. Many leaders of the new generation of experimental embryologists opposed the concept of organisms as constituting a cell state.
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