Meckel, Johann Friedrich, the Elder (1724–1774), German anatomist. Meckel was an anatomist known for his considerable powers of observation and skill in preparing anatomical specimens. In 1748 he published a treatise in which he described the trigeminal nerve. This treatise also contained his description of the cavity containing the trigeminal ganglion, the space now known as Meckel's cave. A preliminary description of the ganglion now known as the pterygopalatine ganglion was included in this treatise, but a fuller treatment was presented the following year.