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  Anatomy (from Greek, ‘cutting up’) is the field of biology concerned with the structure of organisms and the relationship of structure to function. The major technique in anatomy is dissection and the first recorded attempts to learn from dissection were made by the Alexandrian physician Herophilus who publicly dissected human cadavers at around 300  BCE, during the brief period of ancient Greek history when human dissection was permitted. Unfortunately, all his original work was destroyed with the library at Alexandria, but much of his work is known from the descriptions of others. Later, in the 2nd century  CE, the gladiators\' physician Galen was given the opportunity to investigate much human anatomy, but was unable to dissect cadavers.

The conclusions drawn by Greek anatomists remained largely unchallenged until the Renaissance when interest in anatomy was revived by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, who made detailed anatomical drawings and recognized (among other things) the homology of the bone structures of human and horse legs, and by physicians such as Andreas Vesalius, who disagreed with his superiors at Paris and moved to Padua in Italy to teach anatomy. In 1543 he wrote Seven Books on the Structure of the Human Body and established a new tradition of anatomy based on inquiring examination, a principle which set an example to other branches of science developing at the time.

The appearance of the microscope in the early 17th century enabled the study of microscopic anatomy and initiated the study of the anatomy of tissues (histology). Comparative anatomy, in which similarities in structure between differing species are studied and homologous structures such as wings and legs are identified, was pioneered by Edward Tyson who studied human and chimpanzee anatomy. The observations of comparative anatomists such as Tyson and Georges Cuvier, who studied the anatomy of fossil species (palaeontology), were a cornerstone of Darwin\'s evidence for his theory of evolution. RB

See also analogy; morphology.Further reading Warren Walker, Functional Anatomy of the Vertebrates.



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