Malpighi, Marcello

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Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694)

An Italian scientist and physician who studied tissues and organs microscopically and is considered the founder of microanatomy. He related anatomy and physiology to medicine, including detailed structure of lungs, kidneys, spleen, and other organs, and the capillary circulation in frogs (1660). He later studied the structure of plants and animals and may have referred to cells when he spoke of “globules” and “saccules” (1661). He discovered the existence of blood capillaries, whose existence had been hypothesized by William Harvey about 30 years earlier. In addition, he studied the development of organs of chick embryos and erroneously concluded that the adult was preformed in a miniature form in the egg.

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