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Malpighi, Marcello

Malpighi, Marcello

Malpighi, Marcello, 1628-94, Italian anatomist. A pioneer in the use of the microscope, he made many valuable observations on the structure of plants and animals. He completed Harvey's theory of circulation by his observation of the movement of blood through capillaries and recorded this, as well as his work on the structure of the lung, in De pulmonibus (1661). He is noted also for his studies of the structure of glands and of the brain, spleen, liver, and kidneys; of the anatomy of the silkworm; of the embryology of the chick; and of plant tissues. Several anatomical parts bear his name, including a layer in the human skin and the excretory tubules in insects. He was professor at the Univ. of Bologna (1666-91).

(born March 10, 1628, Crevalcore, near Bologna, Papal States—died Nov. 30, 1694, Rome) Italian physician and biologist. In 1661 he identified the pulmonary capillary network, proving William Harvey's theory on blood circulation. He discovered the taste buds and was the first to see red blood cells and realize that they gave blood its colour. He studied subdivisions of the liver, brain, spleen, kidneys, bone, and deeper skin layers (Malpighian layers), concluding that even the largest organs are composed of minute glands. Malpighi also studied insect larvae (especially the silkworm), chick embryology, and plant anatomy, seeing an analogy between plant and animal organization. He is regarded as the founder of microscopic anatomy and may be regarded as the first histologist.

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