Estonian-born German biologist and embryologist. He studied medicine and comparative anatomy before becoming professor of zoology at Königsberg University in 1817. Ten years later he discovered the mammalian ovum, and traced its development from the Graafian follicle to the embryo. He demonstrated that similar organs in different animals developed from the same germ layers. He also noted the similarities between the young embryos of widely different species (the biogenetic law), which provided Charles Darwin with important evidence for his theory of evolution.
Subjects: Biological Sciences.