Epimorphosis (evolution)

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According to Iwan Iwanowitsch Schmalhausen (1884–1963) epimorphosis describes the qualitatively highest and newest stage in the progressive evolution of the organization of organisms .

While progressive morphophysiological evolution allows living beings to access new habitats ( biotopes ) and thus expands the environment accessible to organisms, epimorphosis leads to potentially unlimited expansion and conscious domination of the environment, i.e. H. for the settlement of organisms all over the world and above all for the development and utilization of all resources of life, for the production of their own living conditions.

This potentially unlimited expansion and domination of the environment by humans is expressed in the term noosphere . In this way, these most highly developed organisms stand out above all living beings. Schmalhausen: "Man reached this last conceivable stage of evolution in geologically recent times" .

The term epimorphosis thus becomes the general term of biological evolution , which includes the human path as a special case, separates it from the other higher development of living beings and at the same time combines it with corresponding possible developments on other celestial bodies.

This view does not correspond to the current state of evolution theory :

  • This term is not a general term here . In the technical language of developmental biology ( ontology ) it is already defined for other issues.
  • It rejects the theory of progressive progress and thus the classification of living beings in a scale ( Scalae naturae ).
  • In particular, the anthropocentric view that man represents the highest stage of development (“crown of creation”) is rejected.