Beurlen was a proponent of orthogenesis and saltational evolution. He used the term metakinesis (coined by Otto Jaekel) to describe sudden changes of development in organisms. He also invented the term palingenesis as a mechanism for his orthogenetic theory of evolution.
He was director of the Zoologische Staatssammlung München.
- Rieppel, Olivier. (2012). Karl Beurlen (1901-1985), Nature mysticism, and Aryan Paleontology. Journal of the History of Biology 45: 253-299.
- Levit, Georgy S; Olsson, Lennart. (2007). Evolution on Rails Mechanisms and Levels of Orthogenesis. In Volker Wissemann. Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology 11/2006. Universitätsverlag Göttingen. pp. 115-119
- Bowden, A.J; Gregory, F.J; Henderson, A.S. (2013). Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development. Geological Society. p. 230. ISBN 978-1-86239-371-4
- Stindl, Reinhard. (2014). The telomeric sync model of speciation: species-wide telomere erosion triggers cycles of transposon-mediated genomic rearrangements, which underlie the saltatory appearance of nonadaptive characters. Naturwissenschaften 101: 163-186.
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