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The study of human has.signifred manl thrngs to different cultures across the ages and has been prompted by diverse. motives: the needto co:pe with injury, disease and death, the generation of images for aesllel:. magical religrous purposes and beside this practical .or preoccupations a strong element of curiosity about thi m1'st'erious nature of Irr-an ifr'ano its
The first recorded school of anatomy was in Alexandria (from about 300 BC to the second century AD) where the renorvned anatomical teachers Herophilus and Erasistratus dissecled the human body and described many of its structures. Before this iime, aissectlon tras ilee" f.""ii.a various times in classical Greece,.and also as pafi of the mummification ", process in egtpiduri"g tlr. previous two millennia, although little is known ofhoq,the dissectors interpreted wha'i ttrey founa. The most influentiar anatomist in the ancient worrd was Galen (about 130-200 A.D.) a physician and prolific writer who studied anatom), at Arexandria and later worked in Rome. However his anatomy was largely based on the dissection of animals rather than humans. Seriously flawed by many errors and misinterpretations, Galen's work became the received unassailable rexr for anatomy and seems to have exerted a deadening influence on the subject over the next 1300
throughout Europe. However, because of the social and religious attitudes surrounding the provision of bodies for dissection until recent times,.the study of aiatomy had many untorvard resonances during the centuries that followed, some ofthem macabre, or anti-intellectual. others more benign. In England during - was to be anatomizedthe eighteenth century and later the ultimate judicial thre-at to the wrong doer after execution. Throughout Europe, anatomists obtained their sub.;ects for dissection largely from executions of criminali, from the poor houses or more often in Britain illicit graveyard exhumations. As medicar science progressed during the nineteenth century and became more successfur at treating the sick, the need foi lega y obtai-ned cadaver, *u, ,."ognir.a and became carefully controlled by law. The sinister connitations of anatomy gradualry faied as the benefits of a thorough medical_ training and the enlargement of medicai lirowledle became appreciated at large. so, for example, in Britain the beque.-athal of one's body to medical school after death eventually became an expression of personal philanthropy, often in gratitude for successful medical treatment in an early period of life. The anatomist became fully acceptable both socially and as the subject expanded beyond the confines of hurnan topograph),, also academically. B1, the beginning of th.-t*enti"th- century anatomy departnents had generally achieved a high standing in the world of science and prest;gious university chairs in the subject attracted some of the best intellects into anatomical teachins ano
Many tems used in modern anatomy have roots in Galen's work. Thereafter anatomical literature of any consequence dates from the time of the Renaissance. Setting apart the extraordinary but until recentry ignored studies by Leonardo da vinci at the begi;in; of the sixteenth century, the foundation stone of modem anatomy is the work of Andreal vesa'iius: ,e Fabrica Corporis Humani, published in 1543 when the autLor was aged 2g and teaching padua. in This book had considerabre impact because it was based on firsi-hand experience"of human dissection rather than reliance on ancient texts and it must also be allowid, because of the imaginative and most striking quality of its exce ent ilustrations. After this epoch-making publication, anatomical science began to flourish, initially in the north Italian universities then
The horizons of anatomy were also steadily expanded as speciarized areas of study developed. From topographicar anatomy never reseaiched fields arosi: physicar anthroporogy, paleontology, comparative anatomy, biomechanics, kinesiorogy and radiorogicar and' other macroscopic imaging studies. At the microscopic level. histologists continued to explore a noyel world of minute structures within the human body. and as new instrunrents and methods 01.
be understood by knowing its prenatal history . At the present time anatomy is concerning itself more and more with the dynamic processes.approaches needed for neurobiological exploralion complemented by neurophysiology.vorks is clearly needed in sciencej'things knorvn"-is to be true to its name. engaging in a plethora of integrated functions. muscles. Anatomy is a time honored title encompassing a geal range of endeavors. the proper territory of anatomy is at present hard to define. genetics and ph).In the study of the nerYous s) sten neuroanatomy took its place as one of a baftery of . storage and communication as well as clinical diagnosis. At its worse anatomy could be a dingy subj ect inhibitory to the intellectuals and hardly deserving the title of anatomical science. the structure of the living rather than the dead: cadaveric dissection is the course essential to understand the architecture of the body but it is important to add to this a knowledge ofthe structure of the living. for clinical purposes it must concern itself primarily with human topographic anatomy that is. embracing all areas of knowledge relevant to the structural organization of the human body and like other branches of science.essels. neuropharmacology. the accurate description of bones. The techniques of experimental embryology combined with microscopy. connected by evolutionary history to all other living organisms. body. physiologl. Computer-controlled imaging techniques are increasingly widening our appreciation of three-dimension living structure and may in the future be expected to play a major role in anatomical data acquisition. to limit oneself to smaller areas of analysis and. is holistic. physicians and the various medical specialties. have constrained many teaching departments into shunning the title of "Anatomy" in favor of more progressive -sounding names. with such an approach all science drifts into meaningless generalization. it is possible to see human anatomy from what is essentially a reductionist viewpoint.ere also discoyered in embryological studies and it became clear that much ol adult anatom)' can onl1. Furthermore frorn a philosophical viewpoint anatomy is not merely the structural biology of an animal species which happened to be human. looking for the connection betrveen disparate areas ofknowledge and larger patterns of organization or global signifi cance. . or one should say complementary.) preparation were developed . engaging many disciplines. A balance between these two conceptual framer. the clear and sufficiently detailed analysis for the body to serve the needs of surgeons. but an attempt to grasp the totality of body structure. molecular biology and molecular genetics are also helping us to see how the adult body achieves its final form. it is constantly changing as new research data transform our image of the body's dynamic organization. Because we are self-aware and tlre hunran bodf is the nredium thror-rgh l'i. So anatomy. While these manoeuvres may be necessary to deflect prejudice and attract funding. clearly. r. Such views sometimes expressed by senior personages who in their youth encountered oppressive anatomical regimes. way of thinking. why variations in structure appear and how the body regulates its microscopic arrangement on normal and regenerating tissues and organs. of course. ages and dies. reproduces. Anatomy is part ofthe continuum ofthe human knowledge. expressing various rnorphologies as it develops.sics.is not merely the separation of palts. constanlly searching for underlying principles and viewing the living frame as an extraordinarily complex. experimental psychologl and more recently molecular biology and dynamrc whole brain imaging. As in all areas ofexperience. anatom) forged ever-increasing links with biochemistry. integrative. The opposite. nerves and so forth. labile entity with a temporal dimension. Because of this immense ramification oi interest and the blending of the structural approach with other disciplines. The corrplex changes of prenatal development \1. it can be argued that too much apologies is counterproductive. But it is not sufficient merely to name the parts: anatomists have sometimes been criticized for a slavish attention to minutiae and for the endless itemization of learning of cadaver structure with lirnited clinical importance. matures.hich our experience ofthe world and our responses to it are transacted the study of the human has a unique place in establishing the image we have of ourselves. ligaments.