recapitulation, theory, stated as the biogenetic law by E. H. Haeckel, that the embryological development of the individual repeats the stages in the evolutionary development of the species. For example, the beginnings of gill clefts appear in both humans and fish, but while they are elaborated and eventually function in the fish, in humans, except for the modified gill cleft that becomes the Eustachian tube, they disappear as the embryo develops. Though drastically modified and qualified since its proposal, the historical significance of this theory—"ontogenesis recapitulates phylogenesis"—is that with its appearance it lent support to the theory of evolution by seeming to corroborate it.
The word recapitulation can mean:

  • A summary
  • Recapitulation (music), a section of musical sonata form where the exposition is repeated in an altered form and the development is concluded
  • Recapitulation theory, a scientific theory no longer accepted
  • Recapitulation (Irenaeus), a religious theory
  • Recapitulation (Castaneda), a spiritual practice appearing first in the writings Carlos Castaneda and later in those of Miguel Ángel Ruiz, Victor Sanchez and others
  • Recapitulation (healing) the art of recapturing lost energy stored in the muscles of the body from thoughts & feelings of past events, a natural healing process. Self Re-examination. Recapitulator, a tool used to bring attention to the memory & location of trapped energy to remove stress from the body thereby healing any area of distress upon re-examination.

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