Influential German evolutionist, morphologist, and developmental biologist. Following Müller, he argued that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" and therefore that phylogeny should be reconstructed on the sole basis of ontogeny. The first important exponent of evolution in the German-speaking world, he also was the first in the world to create explicitly evolutionary phylogenies of all animals. He was broadly Darwinian, but had Lamarckian and vitalist tendencies. His speculative and somewhat spiritualistic approach brought him into a decades-long conflict with the influential, anti-evolutionary Prussian anthropologist and pathologist Virchow. Haeckel's attempt to describe human evolution in racial terms later became a part of the pseudo-scientific basis for Nazism. Haeckel coined the term "ecology" (1866).
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