Cell: The Unit of Life
The word ‘cell’ comes from the Latin word ‘Celle” which means ‘a small compartment’. The word cell was first used by Robert Hooke (1662) therefore the term ‘cell’ is as old as 300 years.
Aristotle (384-322BC), was the one who first recognized that animals and plants consists of organised structural units but unable to explain what it was.
In 1660’s Robert Hooke observed something which looks like ‘honeycomb with a great little boxes’ which was later called as ‘cell’ from the cork tissue in 1665. He compiled his work as Micrographia. Later, Antonie von Leeuwenhoek observed unicellular particles which he named as ‘animacules’. Robert Brown (1831-39) described the spherical body in the plant cells as nucleus. H. J. Dutrochet (1824), a French scientist, was the first to give idea on cell theory. Later, Matthias Schleiden (German Botanist) and Theodor Schwann (German Zoologist) (1833) outlined the basic features of the cell theory. Rudolf Virchow (1858) explained the cell theory by adding a feature stating that all living cells arise from pre-existing living cells by ‘cell division’.