Ancient Medicine Class Visits the Anatomy Lab

After reading ancient texts about human anatomy and physiology, students in the Winter 2020 CLST 11 class (Ancient Medicine) visited the Anatomy Lab at Geisel School of Medicine for a chance to examine bones and organs up close. Walking in the footsteps of Herophilus and Erasistratus, medical researchers in the ancient city of Alexandria, they peered inside a human brain, explored the ventricles of a human heart, and even squeezed a human lung.

Prof. Patrick Glauthier explains that in the ancient world, dead bodies were regarded as a powerful source of pollution, which meant that most doctors and medical students never had this kind of experience. Instead, they had to draw conclusions about the interior of the human body on the basis of animal dissection.

As luck would have it, CLST 11 students were able to engage in comparative anatomy, too—check out the sulci and gyri on that mink brain!