- Fallopian Tubes
- The anatomist who discovered the function of the tubes that carry ova from the ovaries to the uterus, and for whom the tubes were named, was Gabriel Fallopius (1523-1562). The oviducts found in female mammals, including human beings, is a mistranslation of Fallopius's tubas, "trumpets," which was his way of describing the horn-shaped muscles. Fallopius's investigation proved that virgins have hymens, and he coined the word vagina.Fallopius was destined for an ecclesiastical career but turned to medicine. He became a professor of anatomy at Ferrara, then at Pisa University, and subsequently at Padua University, where he headed the anatomy department until his death.Fallopius, it seems, was a one-man medical lexicographer. In addition to "vagina," he created the medical use of words palate, placenta, cochlea, and clitoris.Some scholars point out that, although Fallopius may have coined the anatomical use of vagina, that term, meaning sheath or scabbard, was a good classical Latin word 1,500 years before Fallopius. Fallopius contributed greatly to the early knowledge of the ear. He described the semicircular canals of the inner ear (responsible for maintaining body equilibrium) and named the cochlea (the snail-shaped organ of hearing in the inner ear).
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.