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William Harvey had developed similar ideas but they were never published. De Homine (Treatise of Man); 1662: Moyardum & leffen, Leiden.

Jan Swammerdam, a Dutchman, disproves Descartes' mechanistic theory of animal motion by removing the heart of a living frog and showing that it was still able to swim.

Using a Leyden jar in 1746, Jean-Antoine Nollet, French physicist and tutor to the Royal family of France sends an electrical current through 180 Royal Guards during a demonstration to King Louis XV.On removing the brain all movement stopped (which would be in keeping with Descarte's theory) but then, when the frog was dissected and a severed nerve end stimulated with a scalpel the muscles twitched.This proved that movement of a muscle could occur without any connection to the brain and therefore the transmission of 'animal spirits' was not necessary.Boerhaave published Swammerdam's 'Book of Nature' in the 1730s which was translated into English in 1758.Swammerdam refines his experiments on muscle contraction and nerve conduction and demonstrated some to notable figures such as the Grand-Duke Cosimo of Tuscany who was visiting Swammerdam's father's house on the Oude Schans in Amsterdam.

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