When Were Cells Discovered?


Quick Answer

The cell was discovered in 1665 by Robert Hooke when he examined thin slices of a cork with a microscope. What he saw were not living cells but nonliving cell walls. Hooke reportedly used the word "cells" for what he saw, because the cork reminded him of monastery cells.

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Full Answer

In 1674, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first person to see bacteria, yeast and the various organisms found in only a small drop of water by using a microscope. Leeuwenhoek is often referred to as the father of microscopy. The discoveries made by Hooke and Leeuwenhoek changed scientific theory from vitalism to cell theory.

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