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During the late Middle Ages, the earliest known autopsies were performed to determine cause of death in humans. As these autopsies were documented, much information about human anatomy was gathered and studied. In 1761, the culmination of autopsy material resulted in the first textbook of anatomy by Giovanni Battista Morgagni, who is known today as the “father of pathology.”

Many developments in pathology occurred during the 19th century, including the discovery of the relationship between clinical symptoms and pathological changes. By the mid-1800s, Rudolf Virchow had established the fact that cells, of which all things are composed, are produced by other living cells. He became known as the founder of cellular pathology. Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch later developed the bacteriologic theory, which was fundamental to understanding disease processes. By the late 19th century, pathology was a recognized medical specialty.

Technological advances of the 20th century, from electron microscopes to computers, have led to further growth and developments in the field of pathology.

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