Volcher Coiter

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Volcher Coiter
Volcher Coiter
Born 1534
Died 2 June 1576
Nationality Dutch
Scientific career
Fields Anatomy
Doctoral advisor Gabriele Falloppio
Other academic advisors

Ulisse Aldrovandi

Gabriele Falloppio
Bartolomeo Eustachi
Guillaume Rondelet

Volcher Coiter (also spelled Coyter or Koyter) (1534 – 2 June 1576) was a Dutch anatomist who established the study of comparative osteology and first described cerebrospinal meningitis.

Avian anatomy illustration by Coiter

Coiter was born in Groningen. He studied in Italy and France and was a pupil of Ulisse Aldrovandi, Gabriele Falloppio, Bartolomeo Eustachi and Guillaume Rondelet. He became city physician of Nuremberg in 1569. He took part in the French Wars of Religion as field surgeon to Count Palatine Johann Casimir. He died in Champagne during the German forces' return march.

His works included Externarum et Internarum Principalium Humani Corporis Partium Tabulae (1573) and De Avium Sceletis et Praecipius Musculis (1575). His work included detailed anatomical studies of birds as well as a classification of the birds based on structure and habits. He produced an early dichotomous classification key.[1]


  1. ^ Allen, Elsa G. (1951). "The History of American Ornithology before Audubon". Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Ser. 41(3):387-591.