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Charles Bonnet

Charles Bonnet, 1720-1793, Swiss naturalist.

Bonnet, a resident of Geneva, discovered in 1740 that female aphids were able to reproduce without fertilization.

In Philosophical Palingesis, or Ideas on the Past and Future States of Living Beings (1770), Bonnet argued that females carry within them all future generations in a miniature form. He believed these miniature beings, sometimes called homonculi, would be able to survive even great cataclysms such as the biblical Flood; he predicted, moreover, that these catastrophes brought about evolutionary change, and that after the next disaster, men would become angels, mammals would gain intelligence, and so on.

This catastrophic theory of evolution influenced Erasmus Darwin.