|Third Century BC
||Greek physicians Herophilus of Chalcedon and Erasistratus
of Chios perform human dissections in Alexandria, Egypt. Later,
Roman law prohibited dissection and autopsy of the human body. No
new dissection studies were done until the early 14th Century.
||Galen of Pergamum (129-c.216 AD) Served as physician to a troop
of gladiators maintained by the high priest of Asia; also served
as physician to Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.
||Galen gave public demonstrations in anatomy; dissected and experimented
on African monkeys, sheep, pigs and goats.
Galen identified seven pairs of cranial nerves, described heart
valves, and differentiated between veins and arteries; showed
that arteries carry blood not air.
Prevailing prohibitions on human dissection forced him to dissect
animals and led to errors. Galen’s description of the human
uterus was based on that of a dog.
||Mondino de Liuzzi (1270-1326) performs the first officially sanctioned
public dissection in Bologna in the presence of medical students
and other spectators; responsible for reviving investigation through
dissection and inclusion of dissection in the medical curriculum
of the University of Bologna.
||Mondino wrote his major work, Anathomia corporis humani,
considered the first example of a modern dissection manual and the
first true anatomical text; in use for next 250 years.
||Leonardo Da Vinci did dissections in the hospital of Santa Maria
Nuova and broadened his anatomical work into a comprehensive study
of the structure and function of the human body; worked on an anatomy
text that was never published.
||Galen’s works printed in Greek in Europe; Latin translations
||Andreas Vesalius, (1512-1564) a Belgian physician, publishes The
Seven Books on the Structure of the Human Body (De humani corporis
farbica libri septem).
Based on careful observations from new dissections, this work
began to undermine Galen’s authority. Vesalius performed
dissections, directed demonstrations, introduced dissection to
Copernicus published his concept of the heliocentric system.
||William Harvey, by observation and reasoning, developed a theory
of the circulation of the blood; published his classic work on anatomy
and function, Concerning the Motion of the Heart and Blood,
(De Motu Cordis).
||Murder Act in Great Britain allowed the bodies of executed murderers
to be dissected for anatomical research and education.
||In England, the Royal College of Physicians and the Company of
Barber Surgeons were the only organizations permitted to carry out
||Italian anatomist Giovanni Battisti Morgagni published The
Seats and Causes of Diseases Investigated by Anatomy (De Sedibus
et Causis Morborum per Anatomen Indagatis). The work contained
records of 640 dissections.
A widely respected physician, Morgagni was the first to show
the necessity of basing diagnosis and treatment on a comprehensive
knowledge of anatomy; considered the father of modern autopsy.
||Anatomy Act in the United Kingdom allowed physicians and surgeons
to have legal access to corpses that were unclaimed after death,
particularly those who died in prison or workhouse. A person could
donate a next of kin’s corpse in exchange for burial at the
expense of the person accepting the body.
||Henry Gray published first edition of his Anatomy: Descriptive
and Surgical, later known simply as Gray’s Anatomy.
The work covered 750 pages and contained 363 figures. The success
of the book was due to the excellence of its illustrations. A second
edition was prepared by Gray and published in 1860. The 40th edition
was published in 2008.
||Illinois Cadaver Act passed allowing for bodies that will be buried
at public expense to be transferred for research and educational
purposes in Illinois.
||Flexner Report in US, dissection becomes an established requirement
in the medical school curriculum.
||Forerunner of AGA is established at the Demonstrators Society
in Chicago, intended to accept donations and to provide cadavers
to the city’s medical schools and other institutions.
||New preservation techniques are developed, such as plastination
and latex injection, to preserve anatomical specimens for much longer
periods of time.
||The National Library of Medicine (NLM) within the National Institutes
of Health uses images for clinical medicine and biomedical research.
The Visible Human Project was designed to build a digital image
library of volumetric data representing complete, normal adult male
and female anatomy.