Developmental Homology

  • James DiFriscoEmail author
Living reference work entry


Homology is the fundamental determinant of the sameness of biological characters or traits. When two characters stand in a relation of homology, they belong to the same character kind. For example, the eyes of humans and birds are homologous as vertebrate eyes – that is, they are the same kind of character: vertebrate eyes. Although the concept of homology originated in pre-Darwinian comparative anatomy, it was subsequently revealed to be an evolutionary phenomenon caused by common descent. Contemporary investigators work roughly within the following generic evolutionary conception of homology:
  • Homology: Two characters in distinct organisms or taxa are homologous if they are genealogically connected by continuous descent from a common ancestor that had the same character.


Homology Developmental homology Biological characters Character identity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gerd B. Müller
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The KLI InstituteKlosterneuburgAustria
  2. 2.University of ViennaViennaAustria

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