AnatomyandPlastination - Gunther von Hagens Anatomy and...

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Anatomy and Hunting; Ritual Anatomy Anatomy refers to the science of investigating the body's in- ternal structures. There have always been specialists on the body's interior; hunters were among these specialists in man's early history. Animals killed during the hunt had to be gut- ted, and the meat had to be removed from the bones; a cer- tain understanding of anatomy was an advantage in this re- gard. ‘Kitchen anatomy’ therefore concerned the anatomy of animals. Initial interest in human anatomy presumably arose among cannibals, whose motives were primarily ritual in na- ture. They believed that by consuming their enemies they could absorb their strength. In the earliest advanced civi- lizations, procedures were developed for immortalizing the bodies of the dead—at least when the deceased had been per- sons of importance. Preserving entire corpses in this way was known in many cultures. The most famous instance is that of the mummies of ancient Egyptian pharaohs and other dig- nitaries, whose gutted bodies had been treated with fragrant resins and sodium bicarbonate, and then dried; this was to allow the deceased to live on after death. At its high point in South America, mummification even led to the establishment of entire cities of the dead. Ritual anatomy did not achieve any great anatomical insights, however, because the focus of preservation efforts was the mortal shell of the person, the skin in particular. The organs themselves, the failure of which was responsible for the individual's death, fell prey to decay. The major impetus for acquiring detailed anatomical knowl- edge has always come from medicine. At first, this knowledge lay in the hands of shamans and priests; shortly before the beginning of the Common Era (A.D.), the profession of physi- cian came into being, a vocation for which training was large- ly of a philosophical nature. First Anatomical Studies in Greece and Egypt At around 500 BC, the Greeks founded medical schools such as those in Crotona (lower Italy) and Cyrene (Africa), where they explored the anatomy of animals, examining even such tiny structures as the organ of equilibrium located in the temples. Aristotle (384–327 BC) was the first known anat- omist, even though he is better known today for his philo- sophical writings. A student of Plato and a teacher to Alexan- der the Great, Aristotle drew a distinction between nerves and tendons, and described how major arteries branched out into smaller blood vessels. 9 Shortly after 400 BC, the Greek philosopher Plato came to the conclusion that there must be a fundamental difference between body and soul. He saw the body as only a tempo- rary housing for the soul. This school of thought, known as the dualism of body and soul, provided the necessary foun- dation for preserving human specimens. The conviction that the soul exists independently of the body made it permis- sible to open up the body once the soul had departed after death. It was in this spirit that Herophilos and Erasistratos
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AnatomyandPlastination - Gunther von Hagens Anatomy and...

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