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William Harvey's discovery

60 second histories

This video covers:  How William Harvey discovered circulation; how blood flowed around the body.

I finally discovered just how blood flowed around the body through the dissection of live, cold-blooded animals; their heartbeat is very slow which enabled me to observe the movements of each of the muscles in the heart. I also built up detailed knowledge of the human heart by dissecting human bodies. To prove that blood flowed in a one-way system I tried to pump liquids past the valves in the veins, which didn’t work. I even pushed thin rods into the veins to prove that blood only flowed one way. I did all of this experimenting because I knew I would need all the proof I could get before publishing my findings. I was ready for the doubters who still believed in Galen’s theory and I had even measured the amount of blood moved by each heartbeat, which enabled me to calculate just how much blood was in the body. With this information, when anyone disagrees with me I am able to give detailed proof of my findings.
17th Century
Medicine & Health
Key people
Medicine & health
William Harvey
Key words: 
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