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Books, Journals, New Media
December 9, 1998

History, ReproductionThe Ovary of Eve: Egg and Sperm and Preformation

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 1998;280(22):1961-1962. doi:10.1001/jama.280.22.1961-JBK1209-2-1

Inside Eve's ovary, God placed two hundred thousand million people—all who will have lived from creation to the Judgment Day. This exhilarating figure, produced by Albrecht von Haller, was not a triumph of mathematical projection so much, Clara Pinto-Correia writes, as a "beautiful idea" that expressed a school of scientific thought from the mid-17th to mid-18th century known as the preformation. The hypothesis was that each ovum contains the individual seed of the entire species that is to come afterwards.

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