Anatomy is a branch of the biological science which is concerned with the description of body structures of various living organisms as revealed by dissection.

The word anatomy is derived from the Greek word “anatomē”, where “ana” means “up” and “tome” means to “cutting.” Originally, anatomy was first learnt by cutting up corpses, hence the name “anatomy.”

Types of Anatomy

It could be classified into:

Human Anatomy – Human antomy involves the study of the physical structure of the human body. It focuses on numerous systems, including circulatory, digestive, endocrine, skeletal, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, urinary, reproductive and muscular systems.

Plant Anatomy – Also called as the phytotomy. It is the study of the internal structure of plant including the tissues, root system, stem, leaves, flower, fruit and seeds.

Animal Anatomy – Also called as the zootomy. It deals with the study of the internal structure of an animal including the cells, tissues, organs, bones and other organs of the animal body.

On the other hand, Physiology mainly deals with the functions and processes of the human body. It is distinctly different from anatomy as the latter deals specifically about the structure of the organism.

Antomy is classified into:

  1. Microscopic Anatamy (Histology)
  2. Gross Anatomy (Macroscopic anatomy).

Microscopic Antomy (Histology)

Histology is the study of cells and tissues as discerned by a microscope. The individuals who specialize in this study are called histologists.

The process involves marking and dividing cells and tissues into sections to be viewed under a microscope. 

Application of Histology

  • Histology slides are often used to explain the microstructures of biological cells and tissues.
  • Analysis of tissue samples can reveal crucial information about any underlying infection or disease.
  • Very helpful during the postmortems as it can pinpoint the exact cause of death.
  • Useful in palaeontology, especially to identify fossils.
  • Used in diagnosing certain cancer cells and biopsies.
  • Useful in other domains of life science.

Gross Anatomy

Gross antomy is defined as the study of an organism’s structures which are visible to the naked eye. The main objective of Gross anatomy is to obtain complete information about the structural organization of an organism.

Application of Gross Anatamy:

  • Gross anatamy is used for studying in detail about the different organs.
  • Used in endoscopy, where a tube having a camera at the end is inserted into an organism’s body cavity.
  • It is used in Angiography, where an opaque dye is injected into the blood vessels to view the blood circulation within the human body.
  • The internal structures and organs of living beings are studied by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-rays.
  • Nehemiah Grew, an English botanist is known as the father of the plant anatamy based on his observations and contributions.
  • K.A. Chaudhary is known as ‘Father of Indian plant anatamy.

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