Mice that are born from a shirt

Philosophers from ancient Greece believed that life was contained in matter itself and when conditions were favourable it would appear spontaneously.
Aristotle synthesized in one of his theories all the ideas on spontaneous generation by the philosophers that came before him.
According to the great philosopher, living beings are born from similar organisms, but sometimes they can also be generated from inert matter. All things, in fact, have a “passive element” which is their matter and an “active element” which is their shape, meaning a sort of inner force which gives the matter its shape.
For example, clay is a nonliving matter that has an active element which enables it to shape inert matter into a living being, such as for example a worm or a frog.
The spontaneous generation theory was supported by famous scientists such as Newton, Descartes and Bacon and in 1500 there were people who still believed that geese were born from certain trees that lived in contact with the ocean and that lambs were generated inside melons.
The first experiments to prove the spontaneous generation theory were done in the XVII century and a doctor called Jean Baptiste Van Helmont declared he had performed a unique experiment: he placed a dirty shirt together with some wheat and according to him, mice were born 21 days later. According to the Doctor the sweat in the shirt was the active element which gave life to the inert matter.

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