Scientists Say: Histology | Science News for Students

Scientists Say: Histology

This is the study of the microscopic parts of plants or animals
Aug 14, 2017 — 6:50 am EST
lung histology

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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Power Words

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anatomy     (adj. anatomical) The study of the organs and tissues of animals. Or the characterization of the body or parts of the body on the basis of its structure and tissues. Scientists who work in this field are known as anatomists.

cell     The smallest structural and functional unit of an organism. Typically too small to see with the unaided eye, it consists of a watery fluid surrounded by a membrane or wall. Depending on their size, animals are made of anywhere from thousands to trillions of cells. Most organisms, such as yeasts, molds, bacteria and some algae, are composed of only one cell.

fossil     Any preserved remains or traces of ancient life. There are many different types of fossils: The bones and other body parts of dinosaurs are called “body fossils.” Things like footprints are called “trace fossils.” Even specimens of dinosaur poop are fossils. The process of forming fossils is called fossilization.

histology     The anatomical study of the microscopic structure of animal and plant tissues. The microscopic structure of tissue.

microscope     An instrument used to view objects, like bacteria, or the single cells of plants or animals, that are too small to be visible to the unaided eye.

microscopic     An adjective for things too small to be seen by the unaided eye. It takes a microscope to view objects this small, such as bacteria or other one-celled organisms.

slide     In microscopy, the piece of glass onto which something will be attached for viewing under the device’s magnifying lens.