Clopton Havers, Bone Master

Clopton Havers has a bone to pick with you!

Clopton Havers has a bone to pick with you… so y’all can study it in the histology lab!

This past week, while studying for a lab session in histology (the microscopic study of tissues), I stumbled upon one of the greatest names in the history of medicine – a name held by one of the most notable histologists of all time.

Clopton Havers lived an extremely productive 45 years (1657-1702) in England. Born in Stambourne, Essex, and the son of Henry Havers, Rector of Stambourne, he got his MD in Utrecht, Netherlands, in 1685, and returned to London to practice medicine.

Back in those days, precious little was known about the inner workings of tissue – Robert Hooke and his magnificent microscope had only first described the cell in 1665.

Sensing an opportunity to make a major breakthrough, Clopton began researching the micro-structure of bones, and made some pretty significant discoveries. He is best remembered today for his discovery of what would become known as Haversian Canals – a series of tubes around channels in bone, surrounded by “radiating bony bits” (clearly not the technical term, but I’m not here to bore you!) in compact bone regions.

A photo of a Haversian Canal, thanks to Oklahoma University. The Blog of Funny Names - making histology images famous since 2015!

A photo of a Haversian Canal, thanks to Oklahoma University. The Blog of Funny Names – making histology images famous since 2015!

These are significant enough that medical students, histologists, and pathologists are still learning about Clopton’s “Haversian Canals” today. Talk about making an impact!

He’s also known for making the first description of collagen fibers that connect bone to “periosteum” (basically “bone shrink wrap”), that came to be known as Sharpey’s Fibers, after a Scottish anatomist named William Sharpey described them a few hundred years later.

We shall never know if Clopton Havers’ unusual but splendid name is what led him to greatness, but we will forever appreciate his significant contributions to science, and the countless hours he spent poring into a microscope when everyone else was out having a good time eating scones and wearing knickerbockers. Thank you Clopton!

About Dave

Based out of San Diego, California. Co-founder of the Blog of Funny Names.
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14 Responses to Clopton Havers, Bone Master

  1. Lucky Wreck says:

    This was a most fascinating name discovery! I also like the name of William Sharpey. It makes me think that Clopton Haversian made the first description of the collagen fibers, and William went over that with a Sharpie. Ha.

    P.S. Great photo of Clopton as well! 🙂

    • Dave says:

      Yes, these are such great ideas. The funny thing is that a lot of histology photos are annotated (I really hope for your sake that you haven’t looked at many histology photos over the years), so the sharpie idea makes total sense!

      I’m glad you liked the photo. It was one of only two photos that were available of the guy! Apparently Instagram wasn’t a big thing in the 1600’s.

  2. kerbey says:

    This is my favorite post title so far. I think it’s part of a series on History Channel. And what a grand example of an old person name! He looks like he may have just struck gold in them thar hills, but it’s probably just eye strain from staring at radiating bony bits. Speaking for all the non-medically inclined laypeople, I will say he is best remembered for nothing. Nor are his spawn, as I can’t think of one famous Clopton. Wait a second! This can’t be a pic of him if he lived 1657-1702. There were no cameras! Nice try, Dave. Pulling the wool over my eyes–I just had coffee. I know there weren’t any cameras in the 1700s. Hmph. Med students…

  3. Arto says:

    Clopton Havers : people who have cloptons? Hmmm.

    I never knew we had shrink wrap in our bones. I may need to see a shrink to talk about that. Maybe make a rap.

    That canal from Oklahome looks like there may be some Haversian crop circles going on. Aliens, aliens everywhere…

  4. Dave knocks it out of the park havering over Havers. Totally tubular in my book. 🙂

  5. markbialczak says:

    I will give him the British courteous Clop Clop Clop. Yay you, the man making the difference between the Havers and the haver-nots! Great chapter in HIstology 101, Dave-ster.

  6. Pingback: Dave and Arto in the Comment Sections: Let’s Guess!!! | The Blog of Funny Names

  7. I haven’t a clue who is depicted in the photo you’d posted under the Clopton’s name, but that 19th century-looking man is definitely not Clopton Havers of the Baroque era. 🙂

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