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Key People:Robert BrownAlexander BraunAdolphe-Théodore BrongniartWilhelm HofmeisterWilliam Keith Brooks...(Show more)Related Topics:evolutionBiological developmentZoologyPhysiologyMorphogenesis...(Show more)

Morphology, in biology, the examine of the size, shape, and also structure that animals, plants, and also microorganisms and of the relationship of your constituent parts. The term describes the general elements of biological form and plan of the parts of a plant or an animal. The term anatomy likewise refers come the examine of organic structure but usually argues study of the details of one of two people gross or microscopic structure. In practice, however, the two terms space used almost synonymously.

Typically, morphology is contrasted v physiology, which deals with studies the the attributes of organisms and their parts; function and structure room so carefully interrelated, however, that their separation is rather artificial. Morphologists were originally concerned with the bones, muscles, blood vessels, and also nerves comprised by the bodies of animals and also the roots, stems, leaves, and flower parts made up by the body of higher plants. The advancement of the light microscope made feasible the check of some structural details the individual organization and solitary cells; the advance of the electron microscope and also of approaches for prepare ultrathin part of tissues produced an entirely brand-new aspect of morphology—that including the detailed structure of cells. Electron microscopy has gradually revealed the amazing intricacy of the numerous structures of the cell of plants and also animals. Other physical techniques have permitted biologists to inspection the morphology of complicated molecules such together hemoglobin, the gas-carrying protein the blood, and also deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the which most genes room composed. Thus, morphology incorporates the research of biological structures over a tremendous selection of sizes, indigenous the macroscopic come the molecular.


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A thorough understanding of framework (morphology) is of an essential importance to the physician, come the veterinarian, and to the tree pathologist, all of whom are came to with the kinds and causes the the structural alters that an outcome from specific diseases.

Historical background

Evidence the prehistoric people appreciated the form and framework of their contemporary animals has actually survived in the kind of paintings on the walls of caves in France, Spain, and also elsewhere. During the early human beings of China, Egypt, and the center East, as humans learned come domesticate specific animals and to cultivate many fruits and also grains, they additionally acquired knowledge around the frameworks of miscellaneous plants and also animals.


Aristotle was interested in biological form and structure, and his Historia animalium contains excellent descriptions, plainly recognizable in extant species, the the pets of Greece and Asia Minor. That was also interested in developmental morphology and studied the breakthrough of chicks before hatching and also the reproduction methods of sharks and also bees. Galen was among the first to dissect animals and to make cautious records that his observations of inner structures. His descriptions of the person body, despite they continued to be the unquestioned government for much more than 1,000 years, consisted of some remarkable errors, for they were based upon dissections of pigs and also monkeys quite than of humans.

Although the is daunting to decide the development of modern-day morphology as a science, among the at an early stage landmarks to be the publishing in 1543 of De humani corporis fabrica through Andreas Vesalius, whose careful dissections of human bodies and accurate illustrations of his observations revealed plenty of of the inaccuracies in Galen’s previously descriptions the the human being body.

In 1661 an Italian physiologist, Marcello Malpighi, the founder of microscopic anatomy, prove the presence of the tiny blood vessels called capillaries, which attach arteries and also veins. The visibility of capillaries had been postulated 30 years previously by English doctor William Harvey, whose classic experiments on the direction that blood flow in arteries and veins suggested that minute connections must exist in between them. In between 1668 and 1680, dutch microscopist Antonie valve Leeuwenhoek supplied the recently created microscope to describe red blood cells, human sperm cells, bacteria, protozoans, and various other structures.

Cellular components—the nucleus and also nucleolus of tree cells and the chromosomes in ~ the nucleus—and the complex sequence that nuclear events (mitosis) that occur throughout cell division were defined by various scientists throughout the 19th century. Organographie der Pflanzen (1898–1901; Organography of Plants, 1900–05), the good work the a German botanist, knife von Goebel, who was linked with morphology in every its aspects, stays a standard in the field. Brother surgeon john Hunter and French zoologist Georges Cuvier were early on 19th-century pioneers in the examine of similar structures in various animals—i.e., comparative morphology. Cuvier in specific was among the first to research the frameworks of both fossils and also living organisms and is credited with founding the scientific research of paleontology. A brothers biologist, sir Richard Owen, occurred two concepts of basic importance in compare morphology—homology, which describes intrinsic structure similarity, and analogy, which refers to superficial sensible similarity. Back the ideas antedate the Darwinian see of evolution, the anatomical data on i beg your pardon they were based became, mostly as a result of the work-related of German to compare anatomist Carl Gegenbaur, vital evidence in favour of evolutionary change, despite Owen’s stable unwillingness to accept the view of diversification of life indigenous a typical origin.

One of the significant thrusts in modern morphology has been the elucidation the the molecular communication of cellular structure. Techniques such together electron microscopy have revealed the complex details of cabinet structure, listed a basis because that relating structural details come the particular functions of the cell, and shown that specific cellular materials occur in a selection of tissues. Research studies of the smallest contents of cells have clarified the structural communication not only for the contraction of muscle cells but additionally for the motility the the tail the the sperm cell and the hairlike projections (cilia and flagella) uncovered on protozoans and other cells. Studies including the structural details of plant cells, although begun somewhat later on than those involved with animal cells, have revealed fascinating facts about such important structures as the chloroplasts, i m sorry contain chlorophyll that attributes in photosynthesis. Fist has additionally been concentrated on the tree tissues composed of cells the retain their power to divide (meristems), particularly at the tips of stems, and also their connection with the new parts to which they give rise. The structure details of bacteria and blue-green algae, i beg your pardon are similar to each other in numerous respects but markedly different from both higher plants and also animals, have actually been studied in an effort to determine their origin.

See more: Compare And Contrast Rough Er And Smooth Er, Endoplasmic Reticulum

Morphology proceeds to it is in of prestige in taxonomy since morphological attributes characteristic the a particular types are offered to identify it. Together biologists have started to devote an ext attention come ecology, the to know of plant and animal types present in one area and also perhaps changing in number in solution to environmental changes has come to be increasingly significant.