Mental Floss

This Is The First Illustration of Neurons

Shaunacy Ferro

Feast your eyes on the first image of a neuron, created by a scientist in 1875.

Using a stain of his own devising—potassium dichromate and silver nitrate—Italian physician Camillo Golgi made neurons’ dendrites and axons visible in the nervous tissue of dogs and other animals in the lab, allowing him to draw neural structures for the first time.

The first drawing of neurons depicted a dog’s olfactory bulb, a structure in the forebrain involved in the sense of smell. It featured axons and dendrites, blood vessels, gray matter, and other structures found in nervous tissue. The black-and-white illustration first appeared in an 1875 edition of Rivista Sperimentale di Freniatria e Medicina Legale, and appeared in color in reprints. 

Golgi would later go on to identify an organelle found in most animal cells, eventually named the Golgi apparatus

[h/t: Boing Boing]

Image courtesy of Paolo Mazzarello, Sistema Museale di Ateneo, Pavia, Italy via The Scientist