Amazing Anatomy, Fascinating Facts and Mind-Boggling Bodies
Description: Anatomy is all about the study of the human body, understanding the structures of the body and the relationships between them. It is such a fascinating subject – who doesn’t want to know how they can move around, how they breath, what is going on inside their body?
There are different subjects related to anatomy, all very exciting and all very important in improving our understanding of the human body – these include forensic anthropology, forensic archaeology and medical and forensic art. At the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee, all of these subjects come together in a vibrant department with staff contributing to ground-breaking changes in forensic anthropology, anatomical knowledge exchange, imaging, and improved surgical procedures.
Anatomists and forensic anthropologists can use their knowledge of the human body in many different ways – to teach medical, dental and science students, to improve understanding of the body, to analyse human remains for the medico-legal purpose of establishing identity including during mass disasters and war crimes, while Forensic Artists can present visual information in relation to legal procedures and Medical Artists can specialise in patient communication and information as well as contributing to medical teaching and training.
One of the things we love to do the most though, is to get you interested in the human body! We have a few activities for you to try out, and will share some fascinating facts about the human body with you.
Watch our video and then start our three exciting activities.
Activity 1 – Forensic Anthropology
Forensic anthropology and archaeology is a fascinating subject where knowledge of the human body is used for medico-legal purposes – that is to help in medical and legal situations. This includes establishing identity, investigating suspicious deaths and identifying victims of mass disasters. It is a specialised area of forensic science that requires detailed anatomical and osteological (knowledge of bones) training.
We can tell a lot about a person’s identity, just from their bones. A forensic anthropologist can look at a set of bones, or images of bones and tell if they belong to a human, or an animal. If they are human, the forensic anthropologist can then estimate whether a person was male or female, what age they are (or were at death) and what stature they were – all from just their bones. This is important in helping to establish an identity – it helps to narrow down people in a missing person’s list if human remains are found, for example.
To be able to do this, forensic anthropologists need to know a lot about bones, including their size, shape, any special features they have, how they can fracture and heal, what diseases affect them and how they develop and grow.
The way in which bones develop and grow is especially important in helping to determine age, as our bones all grow at different rates and different patterns. By understanding this pattern, we can narrow down the age range of the bones we are trying to identify.
You can see some of this pattern in Activity 1 – Estimating Age Using Hand Bones (PDF).
Activity 2 – Amazing Anatomy
One thing that it is very important for anatomists, doctors, dentists and scientists to understand is what the organs and structures inside the body look like in 3D. When we look at images and pictures of organs they are usually very flat looking – but of course we are not flat, in fact we come in all different shapes and sizes!
In today’s modern world, one of the ways in which we can teach people about the 3D structure of organs and structures is by using digital 3D models.
Our forensic and medical artists are very skilled in creating these kinds of resources and they are very helpful not only for teaching our students, but also for explaining clinical conditions or surgery to patients.
We have included an activity to show you some of these 3D models and to tell you a little about the anatomy of each structure.
Activity 3 – Anatomy is for Everyone!
It is never too early to be interested, or to get someone interested, in the human body. Young children are always curious about what is going on inside and are fascinated by questions like where does their food go, where is our heart and how do we breathe?
As we grow, we may want to learn more about ourselves, eager to understand the science of the body.
We have included some activities that can spark interest and conversation about the human body including cut out and build skeletons, colouring, play dough model making and body painting. Have a look and see if there is anything you would like to try.
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