Definitions

anatomy

anatomy

[uh-nat-uh-mee]
anatomy, branch of biology concerned with the study of body structure of various organisms, including humans. Comparative anatomy is concerned with the structural differences of plant and animal forms. The study of similarities and differences in anatomical structures forms the basis for classification of both plants and animals. Embryology (see embryo) deals with developing plants or animals until hatching or birth (or germination, in plants); cell biology covers the internal anatomy of the cell, while histology is concerned with the study of aggregates of similarly specialized cells, called tissues. Related to anatomy is morphology, which involves comparative study of the corresponding organs in humans and animals. There are four major types of tissue present in the human body: epithelial tissue (see epithelium), muscular tissue (see muscle), connective tissue, and nervous tissue (see nervous system). Human anatomy is often studied by considering the individual systems that are composed of groups of tissues and organs; such systems include the skeletal system (see skeleton), muscular system, cutaneous system (see skin), circulatory system (including the lymphatic system), respiratory system (see respiration), digestive system, reproductive system, urinary system, and endocrine system. Little was known about human anatomy in ancient times because dissection, even of corpses, was widely forbidden. In the 2d cent., Galen, largely on the basis of animal dissection, made valuable contributions to the field. His work remained authoritative until the 14th and 15th cent., when a limited number of cadavers were made available to the medical schools. A better understanding of the science was soon reflected in the discoveries of Vesalius, William Harvey, and John Hunter. Various modern technologies have significantly refined the study of anatomy: X rays, CAT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are only several of the tools used today to obtain clear, accurate representations of the inner human anatomy. In 1994, for the first time, a detailed three-dimensional map of an entire human being (an executed prisoner who volunteered his body) was made available worldwide via the Internet using data from thousands of photographs, CAT scans, and MRIs of tiny cross sections of the body.

See H. Gray, Gray's Anatomy (1987).

Biological field that deals with bodily structures as revealed by dissection. Herophilus first laid the factual groundwork for gross anatomy, the study of structures large enough to see without a microscope. Galen's ideas were the authority for anatomy in Europe until Andreas Vesalius's methods placed it on a firm foundation of observed fact. The microscope permitted the discovery of tiny structures (e.g., capillaries and cells), the subject of microscopic anatomy. Crucial advances in this area—including the microtome, which slices specimens into extremely thin sections, and staining—led to the new fields of cytology and histology. Electron microscopy opened up the study of subcellular structures, and X-ray diffraction gave rise to the new subspecialty of molecular anatomy. Comparative anatomy compares similar structures in different animals to see how they have changed with evolution.

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Anatomy (from the Greek ἀνατομία anatomia, from ἀνατέμνειν ana: separate, apart from, and temnein, to cut up, cut open) is a branch of biology that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy (zootomy) and plant anatomy (phytotomy). In some of its facets anatomy is closely related to embryology, comparative anatomy and comparative embryology, through common roots in evolution.

Anatomy is subdivided into gross anatomy (or macroscopic anatomy) and microscopic anatomy. Gross anatomy (also called topographical anatomy, regional anatomy, or anthropotomy) is the study of anatomical structures that can be seen by unaided vision. Microscopic anatomy is the study of minute anatomical structures assisted with microscopes, which includes histology (the study of the organisation of tissues), and cytology (the study of cells).

The history of anatomy has been characterized, over time, by a continually developing understanding of the functions of organs and structures in the body. Methods have also advanced dramatically, advancing from examination of animals through dissection of cadavers (dead human bodies) to technologically complex techniques developed in the 20th century.

Anatomy should not be confused with anatomical pathology (also called morbid anatomy or histopathology), which is the study of the gross and microscopic appearances of diseased organs.

Superficial anatomy

Superficial anatomy or surface anatomy is important in anatomy being the study of anatomical landmarks that can be readily seen from the contours or the surface of the body. With knowledge of superficial anatomy, physicians or veterinary surgeons gauge the position and anatomy of the associated deeper structures. init

Human anatomy

Human anatomy, including gross human anatomy and histology, is primarily the scientific study of the morphology of the adult human body.

Generally, students of certain biological sciences, paramedics, physiotherapists, nurses and medical students learn gross anatomy and microscopic anatomy from anatomical models, skeletons, textbooks, diagrams, photographs, lectures and tutorials. The study of microscopic anatomy (or histology) can be aided by practical experience examining histological preparations (or slides) under a microscope; and in addition, medical students generally also learn gross anatomy with practical experience of dissection and inspection of cadavers (dead human bodies).

Human anatomy, physiology and biochemistry are complementary basic medical sciences, which are generally taught to medical students in their first year at medical school. Human anatomy can be taught regionally or systemically; that is, respectively, studying anatomy by bodily regions such as the head and chest, or studying by specific systems, such as the nervous or respiratory systems. The major anatomy textbook, Gray's Anatomy, has recently been reorganized from a systems format to a regional format, in line with modern teaching methods. A thorough working knowledge of anatomy is required by all medical doctors, especially surgeons, and doctors working in some diagnostic specialities, such as histopathology and radiology.

Academic human anatomists are usually employed by universities, medical schools or teaching hospitals. They are often involved in teaching anatomy, and research into certain systems, organs, tissues or cells.

Other branches

Comparative anatomy relates to the comparison of anatomical structures (both gross and microscopic) in different animals.

Anthropological anatomy or physical anthropology relates to the comparison of the anatomy of different races of humans.

Artistic anatomy relates to anatomic studies for artistic reasons.

See also

General anatomy:

Human anatomy:

References

External links

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