Scientists Say: Histology

This is the study of the microscopic parts of plants or animals


This is an example of a histology specimen. In this case, it’s a tiny piece of a human lung.

GRUMELLI ET AL, 2004 (CC-BY-2.0)

Histology (noun, “Hiss-TAWL-oh-gee”)

This is the study of the microscopic parts of a plant or animal. Histology is focused on the anatomy of tiny structures. This can be anything from studying an onion cell on a microscope slide to looking at the microscopic structures inside ancient fossils. Studying the anatomy of tiny parts of the human body has allowed scientists to figure out how our lungs take in oxygen, what blood is made of and how we reproduce.

In a sentence

Scientists used histology to show that while teens might have brains that are getting smaller, those brains are also getting denser.

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Bethany Brookshire was a longtime staff writer at Science News Explores and is the author of the book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology and likes to write about neuroscience, biology, climate and more. She thinks Porgs are an invasive species.

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