Nitrogen was discovered by David Rutherford in 1772. He called it noxious air or fixed air. By the late 18th century, most chemists knew of this fraction of air (nitrogen with some other gases) that did not combust. A few years after 1772, nitrogen was also studied by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Henry Cavendish, and Joseph Priestley. They referred to it as burnt air or phlogisticated air. Through various studies it was shown that animals suffocated in nitrogen. We now know that this is because animals breathe oxygen and will suffocate if there is no oxygen.