Definition of ontogeny in English:



mass noun
  • 1The branch of biology that deals with ontogenesis.

    Compare with phylogeny
    • ‘In summary, the available evidence from both ontogeny and adult morphology suggests that the first ambulacral is at least involved in the construction of the MAO.’
    • ‘A more botanically minded perspective of branching patterns integrates plant morphology and ontogeny.’
    • ‘Heterometry should be applicable only to morphological features that are considered fixed in number through ontogeny.’
    • ‘Progress in our understanding of the relationships between ontogeny and phylogeny forever seems to be bogged in nomenclatural disputes.’
    • ‘Given the interest in comparative approaches in biology, new examples of embryonic ontogeny of osmoregulation should be investigated in species with internal or external development.’
    • ‘However, the examination of specific cases may still yield valuable insight into the relationship between phylogeny, ontogeny and ecology.’
    • ‘Hmm… Since ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny I don't think there actually is a completion of the quest.’
    • ‘There shall always be exceptions, but the rule is that heredity to a large extent determines the environment in which we are going to live - or ontogeny determines phylogeny.’
    • ‘Can anyone get more obscure than biologists and paleontologists, who reflect for thirteen syllables on whether or not ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny?’
    • ‘Although a strong form of recapitulation is not correct, phylogeny and ontogeny are intertwined, and many biologists are beginning to both explore and understand the basis for this connection.’
    • ‘Measurement of the distinguishing characteristics of the skeleton - the skull and pelvis - led some anatomists to conclude that white women ranked below European men in the scales of both ontogeny and phylogeny.’
    • ‘Recall that the central theme of monism is the so-called biogenetic law stating that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.’
    • ‘So these small horns may be more relevant to the study of dinosaur ontogeny than phylogeny (evolution).’
    • ‘His finding of parallels between ontogeny, paleontology, and morphology was rapidly adopted by biologists like Haeckel and used to support evolution.’
    • ‘Moreover, three of them could constitute a morphological series, continuously related through ontogeny.’
    • ‘Delineation of species has traditionally been based on morphological characteristics, especially macroconidium ontogeny, and species have been named based on host association.’
    • ‘However helpful this removal can be, there needs also to be a cohesive model of homologies that can draw upon the integration of morphology, ontogeny, and paleontology.’
    • ‘Heterochronic evolution has been defined as a morphological change inscribed within an ontogenetic trajectory that produces parallelism between ontogeny and phylogeny.’
    • ‘Sacks suggests that the way to learn a subject is to go through it historically for oneself - a mental version of ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny - and the account of him doing so is as lovely as it is riveting.’
    • ‘If ontogeny really did recapitulate phylogeny, then phylogenetic relationships might be determined directly by reference to ontogenetic sequences.’
    1. 1.1
      another term for ontogenesis
      • ‘Selection may act to modify ontogeny and ultimately determine morphology and function.’
      • ‘There is however one problem, namely that much of the ontogeny and behavior of biological organisms is not intentional.’
      • ‘Exceptions to the rule may provide insight into the biology of the animals' ontogeny and life cycle.’
      • ‘These models stress the dynamics during ontogeny of the cellular components of growth and morphogenesis.’
      • ‘Specialization on alternative food resources might drive evolutionary shifts in jaw ontogeny and morphology.’


Late 19th century: from Greek ōn, ont- ‘being’ + -geny.