Niels Stensen and the Discovery of the Parotid Duct

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Goran Strkalj


Niels Stensen was a renowned Danish scientist, theologian and Catholic bishop. Stensen’s early career was devoted to anatomy and it is in this discipline that he made many important contributions. His method in anatomy was rooted in systematic observations based on meticulously executed dissections of human and animal cadavers, as well as experiments on animals. His first important discovery in the field of anatomy, which is the main focus of this paper, was the discovery of the parotid duct. The discovery brought Stensen recognition and fame but only after a controversy in which he was accused of plagiarism by his mentor Gerard Blaes. Although still in an early stage of his career Stensen dealt with the accusation masterfully, producing further research which confirmed him as the discoverer of the parotid duct.

KEY WORDS: Niels Stensen; History of anatomy; Parotid duct; Scientific discovery.

How to cite this article

STRKALJ, G. Niels Stensen and the discovery of the parotid duct. Int. J. Morphol., 31(4):1491-1497, 2013.