"Omne vivum ex ovo" is Latin for "All life [is] from [an] egg". This is a foundational concept of modern biology. Up into the 19th century it was commonly believed that under certain conditions life forms could appear spontaneously ("spontaneous generation"); for example, that maggots would spontaneously appear in rotten flesh, or that algae would spontaneously form in water, or that eel were generated when horse hairs fell into streams. Only with knowledge of modern cell biology was it established that all currently living organisms are descendants of one or more very similar parent organisms.
When the concept is taken to the extreme, it would imply that there was never a time without life. However, with a modern understanding, it means that all life can be traced back to the first cell.
The concept says nothing of the first emergence of life, or the first cell, which may have been made from self-replicating molecules and a phospholipid bilayer.
Last updated: 06-02-2005 17:26:04
Last updated: 08-19-2005 10:52:14