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dysteleologyDysteleologie (ger.)

  • The doctrine of purposelessness, or denial of ‘final causes’, in nature; the study of apparently functionless rudimentary organs in animals and plants, as held to sustain this doctrine. (OED 2011)

    Dysteleologie oder Unzweckmässigkeitslehre. (Wissenschaft von den rudimentären, abortiven, verkümmerten, fehlgeschlagenen, atrophischen oder cataplastischen Individuen.)

    Haeckel, E. (1866). Generelle Morphologie der Organismen, vol. 2: 266; cf. vol. 1: 99.


    dysteleology Purposelessness; frustration of function; as when an insect obtains nectar from a flower by puncturing a nectary (a means not conducive to pollination) rather than via the floral opening.

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 73.