- Swanson LW
The first steps of the discovery, and the main discoverers, of the hippocampus are outlined. Arantius was the first to describe a structure he named “hippocampus” or “white silkworm”. Despite numerous controversies and alternate designations, the term hippocampus has prevailed until this day as the most widely used term. Duvernoy provided an illustration of the hippocampus and surrounding structures, considered the first by most authors, which appeared more than one and a half century after Arantius’ description. Some authors have identified other drawings and texts which they claim predate Duvernoy’s depiction, in studies by Vesalius, Varolio, Willis, and Eustachio, albeit unconvincingly. Considering the definition of the hippocampal formation as comprising the hippocampus proper, dentate gyrus and subiculum, Arantius and Duvernoy apparently described the gross anatomy of this complex. The pioneering studies of Arantius and Duvernoy revealed a relatively small hidden formation that would become one of the most valued brain structures.