Did you know that Jan Swammerdam was born today in 1637? He was a Dutch naturalist and well-known for his skill and accurate use of a microscope. Jan Swammerdam studied both human and animal anatomy. Anatomy is the study of the structure and parts of an organism. Jan Swammerdam was one of the first scientists to observe and describe red blood cells. He also proved that the different phases of an insect’s life (egg, larva, pupa, adult) all belonged to the same creature. Now we know that a caterpillar is an immature butterfly; but before Jan Swammerdam, people thought that these different phases were completely different creatures!
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Jan Swammerdam initially trained and studied to be a medical doctor.
Jan Swammerdam also experimented with an observed muscle contractions.
Initially scientists thought that the lead insect in a beehive was a ‘king bee’. Jan Swammerdam discovered that in fact it was a ‘queen bee’ when he found eggs inside during a dissection.
Convinced that insects were worth studying, Jan Swammerdam wrote a book that described the anatomy of many insects including bees, silkworms, ants, beetles, mites, and many others.