For a long time, biology was a qualitative (descriptive) science. The investigations failed to fully explicate the functional designs of whole organisms and their constituent parts. About half a century ago, at an interdisciplinary meeting which was held in Feldberg (Germany), the International Society of Stereology (ISS) was formed. Mathematicians, statisticians and physical and biological scientists combined their skills to create a new scientific discipline of stereology that allowed for reliable and reproducible quantitation of structural entities of composite physical and biological materials and extrapolation of measurements made on two‐dimensional profiles/images to their three‐dimensional forms. With time, novel bias‐free sampling and quantitation techniques have been developed and tested. Presently, there is no justification for totally descriptive biological studies. Numerous books, publications, computer programmes and applications and dedicated microscopes exist for cost‐effective analysis. Within the relatively short time, it has been in existence, the ISS has actively advanced stereology which is now applied by scientists all over the world in various biological disciplines. Only basic understanding of mathematics, geometry and statistics is needed to do good stereology. Here, analysis of the avian (bird) lung is given to show the versatility and robustness of stereological techniques in analysing biological structures.
Part of the book: New Insights into Morphometry Studies