Louis Dollo
French-born Belgian engineer and paleontologist Louis Dollo (1857-1931), the eponym of Dollo's law, the argument that evolution is irreversible.
In science, Dollo’s law is the hypothesis, in short, that “evolution is irreversible”, or in its original formulation that "an organism is unable to return, even partially, to a previous stage already realized in the ranks of its ancestors." [1]

Dollo's law, aka the theory of irreversibly changes in morphological nature, was first proposed in 1890 by French-born Belgian engineer and paleontologist Louis Dollo (1857-1931) and further elaborated into the status of a proposed law in his 1893 article “The Law of Evolution”. [2]

Dollo’s law is frequently said to be the equivalent or embodiment the second law in the description of the process of evolution. Americans Daniel Brooks and Edward Wiley, in their 1986 Evolution as Entropy, for example, state: [3]

Dollo’s law and natural selection describe the thermodynamic process called biological evolution.”

It remains to be tracked down, however, if Dollo was actually using thermodynamic arguments in his theory. Presently, it does not seem to be the case, but rather possibly a situation of name or term association and or historical synthesis?

In any event, into the 1910s, American historian Henry Adams was citing Dollo's evolution theories in the context of discussions of thermodynamics (e.g. Degradation of the Democratic Dogma, 1920); and into the 1950s Dollo was being mentioned in the context of the “irreversibility of entropy” with reference citations to Adams. [4] American historian William Jordy’s gives detailed discussion on the possibility that Adams’s use Dollo’s anatomical irreversibility theory blended into thermodynamic arguments was done, likely, without completed dissection of Dollo’s work, which as Dollo himself warned, was concerned with the irreversibility of anatomical structure and not function. [7]

French philosopher Pierre Teilhard (1881-1955) also began citing Dollo in his work, intermixed with entropy, energy, and evolution theory discussion. [5] Robert Ayres, in his 1994 Information, Entropy, and Progress: A New Evolutionary Paradigm, states that Dollo’s law was reformulated by Julian Huxley (1956) and taken up again by Carl Sagan (1977). [6]

1. (a) Dollo, L. (1893). “The Law of Evolution” (“Les lois de l’evolution”), Bulletin de la Societe beige de geologie, de plaentologie, et d'hydrologie, 7:164-67.
(b) Dollo, quoted in "Evolution: Ammonites Indicate Reversal," in Nature, March 21, 1970.
2. Louis Dollo – Wikipedia.
3. Brooks, Daniel R. and Wilson, E.O. (1986). Evolution as Entropy: Toward a Unified theory of Biology. (1988, 2nd ed.). University of Chicago Press.
4. (a) Seidenberg, Roderick. (1957). Posthistoric Man (Louis Dollo, pgs. 150, 242). Beacon Press.
(b) Adams, Henry. (1920). The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma (Dollo, pg. 170). MacMillan Co.
5. Teilhard, Pierre. (1979). The Heart of Matter (Dollo, pg. 158). Harcourt Brace Javanovich.
6. Ayres, Robert. (1994). Information, Entropy, and Progress: A New Evolutionary Paradigm (Dollo, pgs. 155, 227). Springer.
7. Jordy, William. (1952). Henry Adams: Scientific Historian (Dollo, pgs. 201-04). Yale University Press.

Further reading
● Cave, A.J.E. and Haines, R. Wheeler. (1944). “Dollo’s Law of Irreversibility”, Nature, Nov. pg. 579.
● Brooks, Daniel B., Cumming, David, and LeBlond, Paul H. (1988). “Dollo’s Law and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Analogy or Extension?”, in: Entropy, Information and Evolution (pgs. 189-226). MIT Press.
● Higgins, John P. (1995). The Promise of Pragmatism: Modernims and the Crisiis of Knowledge and Authority (§2: Who Bore the Failure of the Light: Henry Adams, pgs. 55-107; Dollo, pg. 85). University of Chicago Press.
● Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two) (§:Dollo’s law, pgs. 678-79). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.

External links
Dollo’s law of irreversibility – Wikipedia.
Dollo’s law – Encyclopedia Britannica.

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