Q:

What were Anton van Leeuwenhoek's contributions to cell theory?

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Quick Answer

Anton van Leeuwenhoek was the first scientist to closely observe cells under a microscope; he paved the way for a modern understanding of biology overall. He actually gave cells their name after the resemblance he believed they had to a monk's quarters. Anton van Leeuwenhoek is considered to be the father of microbiology.

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Anton van Leeuwenhoek was a very prolific scientist and had a very long life, dying at the age of 91. One of his most ground-breaking discoveries was also one of his first. His observations, in 1674, of scummy pond water led to the first visual descriptions and illustrations of such common organisms as the algae spirogyra. This contributed towards the foundation of several sub-fields of biology.

A few other important scientific milestones of van Leeuwenhoek's include the discovery that baker's yeast consists of tiny plant-like organisms; the discovery of motile bacteria in tartar on human teeth; and, what he considered his greatest discovery of all -- the direct observation of sperm cells in the semen of humans, dogs, swine, mollusks, amphibians, fish and birds. This discovery is particularly amazing considering the state of technology at the time, as sperm are some of the smallest cells in the human body.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Who was Anton Van Leeuwenhoek?

    A:

    Anton Van Leeuwenhoek was a self-taught Dutch naturalist and microscopist who advanced the microscope's design and use. Through microscopes of his own design, Van Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria, protozoa, spermatozoa, rotifers, Hydra, Volvox, and aphid parthenogenesis.

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  • Q:

    When were cells discovered?

    A:

    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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  • Q:

    What are atypical cells?

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    Atypical cells are cells that appear abnormal when viewed under a microscope, although they are not necessarily cancerous, according to Mayo Clinic. A number of factors may result in cell abnormality.

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  • Q:

    What college did Anton Van Leeuwenhoek attend?

    A:

    Anton Van Leeuwenhoek, one of the pioneers of microbiology, did not attend any formal college. Before his first presentation to the Royal Society in 1673 regarding bee mouth-parts, stings, fungus and a human louse, Van Leeunwenhoek was a surveyor for the city of Delft.

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