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Anatomy: Small introduction

Anatomy is the definition and explanation of living body structures. It is a branch of medicine and biology.

The study of anatomy goes back to the ancient Greeks over 2,000 years. It can be divided into three specific areas: human anatomy, zootomy or anatomy of animals, and phytotomy, which is anatomy of plants.

Animal Anatomy is the study of the human body’s structures. A knowledge of anatomy is fundamental to health and medical practice.

The word “anatomy” derives from the Greek words “ana,” meaning “up,” and “tome,” meaning “a cutting.” Anatomy studies have historically relied on cutting, or dissection, but now, with imaging technology, it is increasingly possible to see how a body is shaped without dissection.

There are two ways to look at anatomy: Massive, or macroscopic, anatomy, and anatomy microscopic.

Gross anatomy

anatomy class
Knowing about anatomy is key to understanding healthcare.

In medicine, the examination of the biological structures visible to the naked eye refers to gross anatomy, macro anatomy, or topographical anatomy.

Gross anatomy studies can require dissection or non-invasive methods. The goal is to collect data on the broader systems of tissues and organs.

In dissection, the scientist is cut open the corpse of humans or animals and examines its organs.

Endoscopy, which incorporates a tube with a camera at the end, may be used to study structures within living animals. Endoscopy is done either through the mouth or through the rectum, and the primary organ of concern is always the gastrointestinal tract.

Less invasive approaches exist too. For example, the scientist may inject an opaque dye into the animal to study the blood vessels of living animals or humans which will highlight the circulatory system while imaging technology, such as angiography.

Techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), or x-rays often disclose details about a living body’s inside

During their studies, medical and dental students conduct dissections of gross human anatomy as part of their practical research. They could dissect a human body.

Gross anatomy students would need to know about the main structures in the body.

Human body systems

There are 11 organ systems in the human body:

  • The integumentary system, meaning skin, hair, nails, and so on
  • Skeletal system
  • Muscular system
  • Lymphatic system
  • Respiratory system
  • Digestive system
  • Nervous system
  • Endocrine system, which regulates hormone production
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Urinary system
  • Reproductive systems

Although these systems have different names, they all operate interdependently, which means they work together and depend on each other.

Microscopic anatomy

A cell structure
On a microscopic level, anatomy looks at cell structure and function.

Microscopic anatomy, also known as histology, is the study of animal, human, and plant cells and tissues which are too small to be seen with the naked eye.

By looking at the tissue under the microscope, we will learn about the cells’ structures, how they are assembled and how they relate to each other.

Of example, if a person has cancer, microscopic analysis of the tissue will show how the cancer cells are behaving and how they affect normal human tissue.

This usually involves observing tissues and cells using histological techniques such as sectioning and staining, and then analyzing them under an electron microscope or illumination.

Sectioning requires cutting tissue into very thin slices to allow for analysis. Histological stains are applied to biological structures, such as tissues, to add colors or to enhance colors so that when examined, they can be more easily differentiated, particularly if different structures are next to one another.

Histology is important to the understanding and advancement of life science in medicine, veterinary medicine, ecology and other aspects.

Histology is used for:

Teaching: Histology slides are used in teaching labs to help students who are learning about the microstructures of biological tissues.

Diagnosis: Tissue samples, or biopsies, are taken from patients and sent to the lab for analysis by a histologist.

Forensic investigations: The microscopic study of biological tissues can help explain why, for example, somebody unexpectedly died.

Autopsies: As in forensic investigations, biological tissues from deceased people and animals can be analyzed, so that investigators may better understand the causes of death.

Archeology: Biological samples from archeological sites can provide useful data about what was going on in history or ancient history.


Histotechnicians, also known as technicians of histology, histology technologists, biomedical scientists, medical scientists, or technicians of medical laboratories, work in histology labs.

Such experts use special expertise to handle biological tissue samples that may come from patients, from perpetrators whether it’s a forensic laboratory, or from bodies. They prepare tiny slices of tissue, known as pieces, by using a series of techniques. The slices are placed on sheets, and histology stains are applied. A histopathologist, or pathologist, then analyses the slides for interpretation.

A histologist’s skills must be thorough and accurate in producing top-quality samples by histopathologist for analysis under a microscope.

A pathologist is a medical doctor who graduated from the medical school and then, through her residency, specializes in pathology. Residency programs are required for all specialties, and the training is an additional four years for pathology.

They observe cells and tissues and analyze what they see so that they or others can use the data to decide whether someone was injured or died for an injury, and so on.

Histopathology is a Pathology sub-discipline. It is the anatomical examination of tissues and cells affected by disease.

Studying anatomy

Many research related to the health care include training in gross anatomy and histology. Paramedics, physical therapists, occupational therapists, surgeons, orthotists and prosthetists, and biologists all require anatomy information.

Some websites give a “tour” of the human body that illustrates the various organs and how they are constructed. The National Institutes of Health are offering a variety of information regarding the different sections of the body.

Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka MartinsĀ is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.