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W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library: Did You Know?

Did you know

Trembley, Abraham (1710-1784)
Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire d’un genre de polypes d’eau douce, à bras en forme de cornes. Leiden: Jean & Herman Verbeek, 1744.

In 1740 the scientific world was electrified by Tremb­ley’s discovery that the green hydra (Chlorohydra viridissima) was definitely an animal, even though it contained chlorophyll and—a fact even more aston­ishing—possessed powers of multiplication from artificial division, thought to be unique to plants. Trembley first demonstrated the hydra’s regenerative abilities by bisecting a specimen horizontally, so that the tentacles were confined to one part; he then observed the regeneration of both frag­ments over the course of several days, until two complete and indistinguish­able organisms had been formed. In further investigations Trembley described the hydra’s living substance, conducted feeding experiments, demonstrated that a hydra could survive and feed after being turned inside out, made a detailed study of the budding process, and performed the first permanent graft of animal tissues by inserting one hydra within another. He was also the first to describe cell division of a sort in the fission of a protozoan.
Garrison-Morton 307. Mayr, pp. 201, 674. Norman 2094. 37546

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