|MadSci Network: Science History|
Although, to my knowledge, he never ascribed functionality to the vacuole, Leeuwenhoek probably deserves this honor. The dutch microscopist, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, discovered bacteria, free-living and parasitic microscopic protists, sperm cells, blood cells, microscopic nematodes and rotifers, and much more. Chances are good that when observing some of the protists he discovered (between the late 1600's and early 1700's), he saw what were, in fact, vacuoles. In many protists, specialized vacuoles take up a significant portion of the total volume of the organism. Find out more about protists here: The Protist Information Server http://protist.i.hosei.ac.jp/Protist_menuE.html Find out some more about Leeuwenhoek here: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/leeuwenhoek.html Hope this helps, Chris Reigstad MadScientist
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