Gross Anatomy for the Layperson?
January 23, 2008 10:28 AM   Subscribe

I want to learn gross anatomy. Help me find a cadaver.

This article in the New York Times about high school students getting cadaver dissection experience made me 1) jealous and 2) motivated to find my own gross anatomy course.

I own several anatomy books and know them well, and have a good working knowledge of the body from dance training. But I really, really want to take classes that will lead to hands-on dissection. (Barring my actually getting to wield a scalpel, I'll settle for watching and getting to touch.)

So, any ideas how or where I could get hands-on anatomy training?

(I'm in NYC, I'm not going to attend medical school, and I've been to see the Bodies exhibit already.)

Thanks!
posted by minervous to Education (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does it have to be a human cadaver?

Check out the side of county roads...plenty of deer and raccoons and such. I assume much of the basic anatomy is the same.

I wouldn't want to get caught digging around in a road kill though.
posted by ian1977 at 10:30 AM on January 23, 2008


As part of Art School Training, the class got to visit a morgue and...see things.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:32 AM on January 23, 2008


Check NYU and other local universities for courses that do dissection, and see if you can sign up without being a student. You might even be able to do this with a medical school class, so it's worth looking into.
posted by fermezporte at 10:37 AM on January 23, 2008


If you know anyone who is scheduled for a surgery at a teaching hospital, ask if they would mind if you observed the surgery. If you don't know anyone so situated, you could inquire at the hospital more generally.
posted by jedicus at 10:47 AM on January 23, 2008


See if any community colleges in your area offer Gross Anatomy? You can usually enroll for a class or two at community colleges without being a fulltime student, although anatomy might be hard to get into because it's a pre-req for a lot of training programs.
posted by Quietgal at 11:38 AM on January 23, 2008


On ian1977's tack, you can buy preserved specimens for dissection from a scientific supply house.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:15 PM on January 23, 2008


The Bio 101 class I took at my community college ($55 a credit hour) had a cadaver and we had some labs with it. Maybe you could audit one and blow of all but the cadaver parts.
posted by Sheppagus at 12:24 PM on January 23, 2008


Oh - and it truly was gross, because there were supposed to be two cadavers (male and female) but one of them developed a fungus and was "unusable."
posted by Sheppagus at 12:25 PM on January 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


You can try the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
posted by spec80 at 12:49 PM on January 23, 2008


What spec80 said. Many Coroners offices will allow you attend an autopsy - its kind of like a ride-along with a cop. I did it on my own when I was in school studying physical anthroplogy. Give'm a call in your local area.

That being said, you may not really learn much about gross anatomy, since they work pretty fast and dont have a lot of time to answer questions about that disgusting green goo they just pulled out and plopped in a bowl. Taking a class in anatomy and physiology at your local college might be more useful.
posted by elendil71 at 1:41 PM on January 23, 2008


My massage school (in Palo Alto, CA) had a half-day class where we visited a cadaver lab at a local college and got to see bodies first hand. So very fascinating that I went twice. Amazing stuff!

Maybe call some of your local massage schools and see if they have anything similar.
posted by browse at 1:51 PM on January 23, 2008


Definitely the ME (or Coroner) office. Also, I might suggest that it's less useful than you'd think. You spend most of your time poke-n-separating connective and adipose tissue. I'd say that the cadaver only really helped me with the pelvis and neck. You say that you own several anatomy books, but look into one like Rohen's (Color Atlas of Anatomy) which is actual pictures of a well-done dissection.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:34 PM on January 23, 2008


You could also try Gunther Von Haagens' live television autopsy, which is available online somewhere. (He's the guy who does Bodyworlds.)
posted by IndigoRain at 5:52 PM on January 24, 2008


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