HOT TOPIC: Body Systems
Volume 1, Issue 37 - June 5, 2005
From earliest times, man has had a preoccupation with learning about his own anatomy. From early pre-historic art through the Renaissance, there is an evolution of awareness and understanding about the human form and its many functions. We know that da Vinci secretly dissected some thirty human bodies in his lifetime, becoming the first to accurately sketch the bones of the hand and human facial muscles. Likewise, Michelangelo studied the human body first-hand to improve his mastery of the human form in his art. One only need to look at his sculptures of David and the Pieta to appreciate his mastery of the forms, both human and artistic.
As the church made allowances for certain classes of criminals to be dissected and studied upon their execution, further understanding of the human body was documented in drawing and text. With the dawn of the age of enlightenment and the subsequent proliferation of scientific advances, the study of human anatomy became more mainstream. As advances in medicine justified further investigation into the health of the body, resistance to further exploration became less and less common. Today a working knowledge of human anatomy is taken for granted as a part of every student's education.
Technology has played its role in the advancement of the study of human anatomy. No doubt the publication of texts containing diagrams of the human body helped to educate the general public. Modern media has helped to further the cause. I can recall one of my favorite entries in my family's Encyclopedia Americana was the section of pictorial overlays of the human form, with each sheet of acetate adding another system to this sophisticated map of the body. More recently, Ms. Frizzle, Slim Goodbody and Osmosis Jones have taken children on fantastic tours of human body systems. In the adult world, not enough can be said of the advances in brain research and medical breakthroughs of the past fifty years, all due to advances in technology.
This week I offer you a dozen first-rate Web-based resources on the human body, ready to implement in instruction. The quality is a mixture of both content and format, each in its own unique successful combination. As you explore these recommended sites, marvel at how far we have come in knowing the physical human condition.
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