spontaneous-generation

spontaneous generation

noun Biology.

Origin:
1650–60

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World English Dictionary
spontaneous generation
 
n
Also called: abiogenesis a theory, widely held in the 19th century and earlier but now discredited, stating that living organisms could arise directly and rapidly from nonliving material

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
spontaneous generation  
The supposed development of living organisms from nonliving matter, as maggots from rotting meat. The theory of spontaneous generation for larger organisms was easily shown to be false, but the theory was not fully discredited until the mid-19th century with the demonstration of the existence and reproduction of microorganisms, most notably by Louis Pasteur. Also called abiogenesis.
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