What Is Anatomy

Anatomy is a biology branch hat studies the structure ad mechanisms of living organisms. Human anatomy, animal anatomy and plant anatomy are all part of this branch of medicine and biology. Anatomy traces its etiology from the Greek language where it loosely translated to separate, cut open, cut up or apart from.  It is further divided into:

Gross Anatomy (Macroscopic Anatomy)

The study of the anatomical structure that can be viewed with the eye without the help of vision aids such as microscopes is referred to as gross anatomy.

Microscopic Anatomy

The study of anatomical structures that can only be viewed with the help of vision aids such as microscopes is known as microscopic anatomy. In this class the study of tissue (histology) and the investigation of cells (cytology) are all included. However, anatomy should be differentiated from pathology and anatomical pathology. This is a branch of biology that deals the study of ailing organs in the body as well as their microscopic appearance.

Anatomy can be further classified into superficial anatomy. This is also referred to as surface anatomy and it involves the investigation of anatomical features that can be viewed through the naked eye on the contours of the surface on the bodies of living organisms. Superficial anatomy helps scientists and doctors to access the location of the underlying structures under the skin.

Perhaps the best known branch of anatomy is human anatomy which involves the study of human anatomy and its histology. The study is directed to the making of the adult human body and its structures. Anatomical models are used in the study of human anatomy together with skeletons, textbooks and diagrams. For human histology, microscopic slides are employed to give students a better understanding of the microscopic structures. There are practical lessons where students dissect cadavers for inspection on the whole human structure.

Through anatomy, scientists and doctors hope to understand the relationship between various organs in the body. It is combined with physiology to understand the functions of the various body parts. There is a distinct difference between anatomy and physiology however although the two are usually paired. The main difference between the two is while anatomy deals with the structure of living organisms, physiology deals with the relationship that exists between various bodily organs. A good example that shows the difference between the two is while and anatomist might study the structure of the cardiac system, looking at the cells and how those cells are connected, a physiologist will look at why and how the heart beats. However the two branches are complimentary each other when it comes to determining how living organisms work.

It is therefore the aim of anatomy to explain how living organisms come to be while it is the aim of physiology to explain why living organisms are alive.