Johann Gottlieb Gahn

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Johann Gottlieb Gahn

1745-1818

Swedish chemist and mineralogist who, with Karl Scheele, discovered that phosphorus is essential to the structure of bone. In fact, bones and teeth are formed of a calcium phosphate mineral, apatite, secreted by bone-forming cells. This discovery was important to understanding how bone and teeth form and function, and in better understanding many fossils, which can consist of phosphatic minerals, too. Gahn also discovered the element manganese in 1774.

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Johann Gottlieb Gahn

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