Spontaneous generationSpontaneous generation
was once believed to be the mechanism by which organisms could originate directly from non-living matter
. The process is also known as abiogenesis
, from the Greek
, not, bio-
, life, and genesis
Early examples of this theory included the generation of maggots from rotting meat, mice from dirty hay, and lice from sweat. The first of these was debunked by a simple experiment carried out by the Italian scientist Francesco Redi in 1668.