KLAUS GULDBRANDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KLAUS GULDBRANDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Homunculus. Illustration of the concept of the homunculus. This 17th century theory (also known as animalculism) states that the offspring of an organism exists encapsulated in a spermatozoan. Previously, ovists had believed that the egg of an organism contained the offspring of that organism. After the discovery of spermatozoa by van Leeuwenhoek in 1677, the concept of the homunculus became favoured, where a tiny but complete being existed within spermatozoa. The homunculus view was first proposed by Nicolaas Hartsoeker (1656-1725). Debate between the ovists and animalculists continued throughout the 18th century.
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