The study of human physiology began with Hippocrates in Ancient Greece, around 420 BC, and with Aristotle (384–322 BC) who applied critical thinking and emphasis on the relationship between structure and function. Galen (c. 126–199) was the first to use experiments to probe the body's functions. The term physiology was introduced by the French physician Jean Fernel (1497–1558). In the 17th century, William Harvey (1578–1657) described the circulatory system, pioneering the combination of close observation with careful experiment. In the 19th century, physiological knowledge began to accumulate at a rapid rate with the cell theory of Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann in 1838, that organisms are made up of cells. Claude Bernard (1813–1878) created the concept of the milieu interieur (internal environment), which Walter Cannon (1871–1945) later said was regulated to a steady state in homeostasis. In the 20th century, the physiologists Knut Schmidt-Nielsen and George Bartholomew extended their studies to comparative physiology and ecophysiology. Most recently, evolutionary physiology has become a distinct subdiscipline.
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