Anatomy (from the Greek ἀνατέμνω – anatemnō, "I cut up, cut open", from ἀνά – ana, "on, upon", and τέμνω – temnō, "I cut") is the study of the body plan of animals. In some of its facets, anatomy is closely related to embryology, comparative anatomy and comparative embryology, through common roots in evolution. Human anatomy is important in medicine.
The discipline of anatomy is subdivided into gross (or macroscopic) anatomy and microscopic anatomy. Gross anatomy is the study of structures that can, when suitably presented or dissected, be seen by unaided vision with the naked eye. Microscopic anatomy is the study of structures on a microscopic scale, including histology (the study of tissues) and cytology (the study of cells).
The history of anatomy is characterized by a continual development in understanding of the functions of the organs and structures of the human body. Methods have also improved dramatically, advancing from examination of animals through dissection of cadavers (dead human bodies) to 20th-century techniques including X-ray, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging.
The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is larger than any other in relation to body size. Large animals such as whales and elephants have larger brains in absolute terms, but when measured using the encephalization quotient which compensates for body size, the human brain is almost twice as large as the brain of the bottlenose dolphin, and three times as large as the brain of a chimpanzee. Much of the expansion comes from the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex, especially the frontal lobes, which are associated with executive functions such as self-control, planning, reasoning, and abstract thought. The portion of the cerebral cortex devoted to vision is also greatly enlarged in humans. (More...)
Vesalius Portrait pg xii - c
Andreas Vesalius (31 December 1514 – 15 October 1564) was an anatomist, physician, and author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body). Vesalius is often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy. He was born in Brussels, which though now part of Belgium, was then part of the Habsburg Netherlands. He was professor at the University of Padua and later became Imperial physician at the court of Emperor Charles V.
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