Division of Biology: Anatomy

Anatomy is a branch of science concerned with the study of structure in animals, human beings and living organisms. Human anatomy is a segregated subject of study. Anatomy of any living organisms other than the human body is termed as ‘Zootomy’. Speaking of living organisms, plants are also classified as living objects.

However, instead of referring the anatomy of plants as Zootomy, it is known as Phytotomy. In general, the term ‘Anatomy’ is coined from two Greek words ‘Ana‘ and ‘Tome‘ meaning “up” and “a cutting“. Earlier, anatomy was virtually understood as dissection. However, researches and studies have remodeled the concept of anatomy over the decades, defining dissection a crucial part of anatomy and not the subject as a whole.

History of Anatomy

History of Anatomy

Anatomy is one of the oldest branches in medicine. The term anatomy comes from the Greek word anatome. See the complete history of anatomy timeline here.

Types of Anatomy

Since anatomy is elucidated as the identification of physical structures in living things, it is broadly classified into two categories. Let us quickly take a look at these categories and understand the concept well.

    • Gross Anatomy – Better known as Macroscopic anatomy, gross anatomy refers to the study of biological structures that are easily viewed with naked eyes. Sometimes gross anatomy is also called topographical anatomy. Parts of the body like heart, bones, eyes and lungs are very much visible to our naked eyes. The study of such structures defines the concept of gross anatomy. Speaking of study, the concept of dissection ropes in. In anatomy, cutting open a human cadaver to observe and record structural details is easy. However in gross anatomy, studies can be performed using non-invasive procedures. For example, in Endoscopy, a simply tube is inserted in the body fitted with a camera in the end. This is enough to observe the physical structure of the living organism inside. X-Ray, Angiography and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) are other examples of performing gross anatomy using non-invasive methods.
    • Microscopic Anatomy – Right as the name suggests, microscopic anatomy deals with the study of cells and tissues of living organisms that are impossible to be viewed with naked eyes. Since learning about tissues and cells require procedures like sectioning or cutting up the tissue in small, delicate slices and staining to enhance the color of the tissues and cells for better distinguishing, microscopic anatomy is also called histology. The study of cells under microscopic observation is often termed as cytology.

Careers Associated with the Study of Anatomy


Here are the excellent resources on anatomy from around the web.

Anatomy of the Human Body
Gray, Henry. 1918. Anatomy of the Human Body. Link

Anatomy and Physiology Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia resource provides articles on topics covered under Anatomy and Physiology. Link

Anatomy Module List
Homepage for the University of Washington Department of Radiology, with online textbook, teaching files, anatomy learning modules, and continuing medical education (CME). Link

Anatomy of the Pelvis and Perineum
Illustrates the anatomy of the pelvis and perineum through fluoroscopic imaging. Link

Atlas of Human Anatomy in Cross Section
A color atlas of cross sectional anatomy in the axial plane which serves as an anatomic reference text. Link

Cardiac Infarct, Arterial Hypertension, Gallery of images from echocardiography, join of all texts to facilitate its interpretation. Capture, processing and visualization of medical images. Link

Echocardiography Tutorials
Simple, easy to understand tutorials on echocardiography. Link

Histology of skeletal, neural and vascular tissue.
Bone, primary visual cortex and blood vessel cells are highlighted in relation to skeletal metabolism, vision and processing of the visual scene by the brain and vascular histopathology respectively. Link

A comprehensive, fun and entertaining site devoted exclusively to histology. Learning histology was never so enjoyable! This site includes histology quizzes, histology games, slides, mnemonics, histology puzzles and tons of information about histology. One of the best histology sites on the internet! Link

Human Anatomy Online –
The place for fun, interactive and educational views of the human body. Link

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