Contents Index

Jan Swammerdam

Jan Swammerdam, 1637-1680, Dutch naturalist.

Swammerdam used microscopy coupled with innovative laboratory techniques to study the circulatory system, developing the work of William Harvey. He was the first to observe red blood corpuscles. His work also extended to the lower organisms; in Algemeene Verhandeling van bloedeloose diertjens (1669; translated as The Natural History of Insects, 1792), the first important work of entomology, Swammerdam described and classified hundreds of species of insects, arachnids, fishes, and worms. He also studied embryology, and remained a believer in the doctrine of preformation (the homonculus theory). His innovative equipment and techniques led to many discoveries in microscopic anatomy.