ently of mechanics and inviolable causes, Haeckel showed remarkably little concern for the way things worked. He was primarily a taxonomist of results—though not the mere arranger so often dismissed as a stamp collector, but a builder of vision who tried to render all the world's complexity in well-measured order.

Haeckel's main interests lay elsewhere, but his mechanism for recapitulation is clear nonetheless. New features are added to the end of ontogeny; condensation makes room for them by deleting earlier stages. Addition and deletion are phylogenetic processes; ontogeny is a sequence of stages under their direct control. Ontogeny has no independent status. Phylogeny, indeed, is the mechanical cause of ontogeny.

The American Neo-Lamarckians:
The Law of Acceleration as Evolution's Motor

Progressive Evolution by Acceleration

We have seen, in Haeckel's case, how easily recapitulation fits with a belief in the heritability of acquired characters. Since this belief was the foundation of America's first major evolutionary school—that of the self-proclaimed "Neo-Lamarckists"—it is not surprising that the school's leaders, the paleontologists E. D. Cope and Alpheus Hyatt, exalted recapitulation to a higher status than it had enjoyed before or has achieved since.18

Edward Drinker Cope, though remembered more for the bombast of his feud with Marsh than for his substantial contributions to science, was America's first great evolutionary theoretician.19 Cope published his evolutionary views in the American Naturalist and other journals during the 1870s and 1880s. He collected these essays in The Origin of the Fittest (1887) and reworked others to write The Primary Factors of Organic Evolution (1896).

Cope was interested more in the mechanics of evolution than in the tracing of lineages. He did not accept Darwin's emphasis on natural selection, for, although he saw how selection eliminated the unfit, he could grant it no role in the creation of the fit—hence the sardonic title of his 1887 work:

The doctrines of "selection" and "survival" plainly do not reach the kernel of evolution, which is, as I have long since pointed out, the question of "the origin of the fittest." The omission of this problem from the discussion of evolution, is to leave Hamlet out of the play to which he has given the name. The law by which structures originate is one thing; those by which they are restricted, directed, or destroyed, is another thing. (1880, in 1887, p. 226)