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Biology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is, by and large, recognizable from a contemporary perspective. This makes all the more interesting those cases in which the practice of biologists in this period seems especially foreign. One such instance concerns the cluster of phenomena surrounding "reversion" and "ancestry." Figures as diverse as Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, W. F. R. Weldon, and Karl Pearson all emphasized the surprising nature of the phenomenon by which organisms would be born with traits that had not been expressed for generations in their lineage. I'll explore what might have been surprising about this phenomenon to these thinkers, unpack some of their thoughts about it, and attempt to analyze the philosophy of biology that could have rendered such cases particularly significant.