At the end of the 19th century, evolution and development seemed closely related; at that time, the ideas of Charles Darwin, Ernst Haeckel and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck played a prominent role in Freud’s creation of psychoanalysis. But during the 20th century, as biological research reached the molecular level, evolution and development veered further from each other and further away from psychoanalysis. In the last two decades, however, developmental and evolutionary biology have come together in the creation of a new field, Evolutionary Developmental Biology ("Evo-Devo"). Recent discoveries on transgenerational effects have returned biological concepts to a closer alignment with psychoanalytic principles regarding the importance of early parent-infant interactions in the long-term development of children and of their own children. These changes are discussed through the history of the Author’s psychobiological research in the development of a relatively simple model organism, the laboratory rat.
Keywords: Developmental theory, early separation, evolution, mother-infant interaction, epigenetics