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AnatomyHistologyCytologyProofPages - P1 JYD...

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P 1 : JYD 9780521572019 c 15 CUUS 457 /Bowler 978 0 521 57201 9 August 8 , 2008 9 : 23 15 ANATOMY, HISTOLOGY, AND CYTOLOGY Susan C. Lawrence It is as though, when we look at the living body, we look at its reflection in an ever-running stream of water. The material substratum of the reflection, the water, is continually changing, but the reflection remains apparently static. If this analogy contains an element of truth, if, that is to say, we are justified in regarding the living body as a sort of reflection in a stream of material substance which continually passes through it, we are faced with the profound question – what is it that actually determines the ‘reflection’? Here we approach one of the most fundamental riddles of biology – the ‘riddle of form’ as it has been called, the solution of which is still entirely obscure. Wilfred E. Le Gros Clark, The Tissues of the Human Body , 6 th edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971 ), p. 9 Anatomy, histology, and cytology are sciences of form that have largely depended on the study of the dead: dead bodies, dead tissues, and dead cells. Each science began with observers isolating, identifying, and naming the external and internal structures of living things, first with the naked eye and then with microscopes. For some investigators, the primary goal has been classification, arranging the bewildering array of plants, insects, fish, birds, and animals into groups and subgroups based on the shapes and arrange- ments of their parts. For most, however, understanding structure was, and is, inextricably connected to understanding function and development. The configuration of parts, from lungs and stomachs to neurons and cell mem- branes, provides vital clues to the ways that individual organisms replicate and nourish themselves and how populations of similar creatures emerged and died out over time. Studying the internal parts of living things often requires researchers to make dynamic systems into static objects, to stop change in order to grasp it. Over the last two centuries, the closer that curious investi- gators tried to get to life’s processes, the more they had to inspect and analyze sequences of dead specimens. The techniques and technologies they devised to see and map biological structures provided the tools for discoveries and theoriesinphysiology,embryology,microbiology,biochemistry,andgenetics. 265
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P 1 : JYD 9780521572019 c 15 CUUS 457 /Bowler 978 0 521 57201 9 August 8 , 2008 9 : 23 266 Susan C. Lawrence In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the biological sciences emerged when studies of living things moved into universities, research institutes, and particularly into laboratories. The traditional medical sciences of early modern universities, notably anatomy, the materia medica, and the “insti- tutes of medicine,” which included physiology, became academic subjects in reformed departments of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathol- ogy. At the same time, areas once unified under the umbrella of natural history found new homes in departments of zoology, botany, geology, and
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