Cochlear Explorers – Part IX – Huschke’s Teeth

Emil Huschke (1797-1858)  is featured this week in Hearing International’s continuing series honoring the Cochlear Explorers. Born in Weimar, Germany, Week IX’s Cochlear Explorer became famous in auditory cochlear anatomy for describing protruding plates that are in contact with the tectorial membrane. Recall that there are lots of cells and other structures within the body named after the researchers who first described them and these are called Eponyms. Our latest cochlear explorer’s name is the source of the term “Huschke’s Teeth.ce94

What And Where are

Huschke’s Teeth?

Huschke’s Teeth are tooth-shaped formations or ridges occurring on the vestibular lip of the limbus laminae spiralis of the cochlear duct. The limbus laminae spiralis  or osseous spiral lamina consists of two plates of bone, and between these are the canals for the transmission of the filaments of the acoustic nerve.

On the upper plate of the part of the lamina that is outside the vestibular membrane (Reissner’s Membrane) presented in area A, one sees that the periosteum is thickened to form the limbus laminæ spiralis. This ends externally in a concavity, the sulcus spiralis internus (area B),  the upper part of which is formed by the overhanging extremity of the limbus (area C), named the vestibular lip. The lower part, prolonged and tapering, is called the tympanic lip (area D), and is perforated by numerous foramina for the passage of the cochlear nerves.  The upper surface of the vestibular lip is intersected at right angles by a number of furrows, between which are numerous elevations; these present the appearance of ce93teeth along the free surface and margin of the lip. Hence, Huschke named them the auditory teeth”.


But …….Who Was Emil Huschke?


Emil Huschke (1797-1858) was the son of Wilhelm Ernst Christian Huschke (1760-1828), archiater (physician) of the duke of Weimar, and the former Christina Göring. He married Emma Rostosky, and they had one son and four daughters. One daughter, Agnes Huschke, married Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), a famed zoologist and German political activist of the early 20th century; another married the Berlin publisher Ernst Reimer.

In 1813, Huschke began his studies at the University of Jena, then the center of the field of ce95Naturphilosophie. He was greatly influenced by his mentor at Jena, Lorenz Oken (1779-1851) (right), one of the most enthusiastic promoters of this philosophical trend which so influenced German science during the first four decades of the 19th century. In fact, Huschke was one of the closest followers of Oken’s ideas and a link between Naturphilosophie and the biology of the second half of the 19th century.

On the one hand, he transmitted his philosophical ideas–mainly through his pupil

ce96 and son-in-law Ernst Haeckel (left)—to the next generation of biologists; and on the other hand, he was one of the mid-19th century German scientists who introduced an exact methodology into the life sciences. His highly esteemed scientific achievements led to his election to many scientific academies and learned societies.

Huschke’s brilliant career at the University of Jena, then also known as Frederich Schiller University in Jena, began in 1813 with his doctoral thesis and continued ce97 with his inaugural dissertation in 1820. In 1823, he was appointed extraordinary professor; in 1826 he obtained an honorary professorship and in 1827, became director of the anatomical institute of the university.  According to Schacht and Hawkins (2004) he was inspired by Scarpa’s comparative anatomy techniques and studied many different species, first describing the “teeth” that bear his name in a paper originally presented at a congress in 1830  and published in the Arch Anat. Physio. Wiss Med in 1835.  Huschke was also one of the founders of the Deutsche Burschenschraft, a student movement for German unity. While the Burschenschaft was hostile to the reactionary policies followed by most German rulers and desired the national ce67unity of Germany, these groups also were the forerunner of anti-semitism in Germany. 

In 1838, Huschke was appointed full professor of anatomy and physiology at Jena and lectured on anatomy, embryology, physiology, natural history, zoology, and medical anthropology. He directed the building of a new anatomical institute but died in 1858 before it was finished.

Next Week watch Hearing International for another Cochlear Explorer, Antonio Scarpa,  a true master who greatly influenced other anatomists of his and later times.





About Robert Traynor

Robert M. Traynor is a board certified audiologist with 45 years of clinical practice in audiology. He is a hearing industry consultant, trainer, professor, conference speaker, practice manager, and author. He has 45 years experience teaching courses and training clinicians within the field of audiology with specific emphasis in hearing and tinnitus rehabilitation. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in various university audiology programs.