☝ preliminaries
CORPORIS FABRICA
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PLATE № 92735815500

Annotated radiographs of the hands of an adult (above) and a child (below)

From childhood, the bones of the hand undergo major development. Note the changes in position and size among the bones of the wrist as well as the joining of the phalanges to their proximal epipheses (seen below as dark, narrow bands adjacent to each bone in the fingers of the five-year-old).

See if you can spot something unusual in one of the radiographs…

Illustration from Cunningham’s Manual of Practical Anatomy, 7th Edition (1920) 

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PLATE № 92637767939

The title above reads: MICROCOSM dedicated to the London Water Companies  - Brought forth all monstrous, all prodigious things: Hydras and gorgons, and chimeras dire.

This 1828 cartoon mocks the quality of contemporary London’s drinking water which was often drawn directly from the river Thames into which the city’s then primitive sewers also drained. In the cartoon, a woman is startled by caricatures of the microorganisms that one may have found in a drop of the very same water from which people drank.

Below, the caption reads: MONSTER SOUP commonly called THAMES WATER, being a correct representation of that precious stuff doled out to us.

Image courtesy of the Wellcome Collection

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PLATE № 92538260371

deathandmysticism:

Surgical correction of an inguinal hernia, Turkey, 15th century

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PLATE № 92436872503

Human skulls - an infant and an adult - in profile.The field of developmental anatomy describes the structural changes an individual progresses through from fertilization to full maturity. After birth, the 44 separate bones of the newborn skull gradually fuse, forming sutures. In the adult skull above, these may be seen as a series of serrated lines across the boundaries of the cranial bones. The skull also undergoes major alterations in terms of overall shape, and teeth begin to develop. Over a period of about two years, the number of separate bones in the infant skull halve in number as they are joined together.Illustration from Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme comprenant la médecine operatoire by Jean-Baptiste Marc Bourgery. 

Human skulls - an infant and an adult - in profile.

The field of developmental anatomy describes the structural changes an individual progresses through from fertilization to full maturity. After birth, the 44 separate bones of the newborn skull gradually fuse, forming sutures. In the adult skull above, these may be seen as a series of serrated lines across the boundaries of the cranial bones. The skull also undergoes major alterations in terms of overall shape, and teeth begin to develop. Over a period of about two years, the number of separate bones in the infant skull halve in number as they are joined together.

Illustration from Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme comprenant la médecine operatoire by Jean-Baptiste Marc Bourgery. 

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PLATE № 92336516135

The earliest known prosthesis, a toe from ancient Egypt. 
Dating back to the period 950 to 710 B.C.E, this wooden toe once belonged to an Egyptian noblewoman and would have assisted in walking, as well as contributing aesthetically. 

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PLATE № 92243663788

Crotalus atrox, the western diamondback rattlesnake, performs its signature warning.

A loud rattling sound is produced when the snake creates vibrations in a series of interlocking keratinous plates that comprise the tip of the tail. The muscles responsible for doing this are extremely fast to move, able to produce a complete shake of the rattle roughly 50 times a second. 

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PLATE № 92150974472

Camellia sinensis, the tea plant.
Every year, approximately 4.8 million tonnes of tea leaves are harvested globally for our cups and kettles. 
Illustration from Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen (1887) 

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PLATE № 92054069950

hic-est-scientia:

This albino garter snake is an example of polycephaly.

A rather uncommon condition, polycephaly (from the Greek poly - multiple, kephali - head) is a congenital cephalic disorder wherein the organism develops more than one head, resulting from the fusion of monozygotic twin embryos. There have been no recorded cases of any animal having more than three heads, and the snake in this image is the only known specimen to exhibit bicephaly as well as albinism.

Image credit: CEN

Modern polycephalic humans are usually considered as two people in modern times and are referred to as twins. However, polycephalic animals from other species are still usually considered to be a single organism; this is usually the case due to the fact that one of the heads is likely to be uninvolved in control of the body, or has limited input. 

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PLATE № 91954603485

A relatively young scientific method, optogenetics allows the manipulation of cell activity using light, enabling teams to control and monitor tissue in vivo even at the scale of complex organisms such as mice and other mammals.

Through this method, it is possible to apply changes to the behaviour of tissue and observe the effects in an organism at the speed of light. The method relies on genetically inserted channel proteins in the cell walls of optogenetic animals which are sensitive to specific frequencies of light. It is even possible, through insertion of the channel genes behind certain genetic ‘promoters,’ to isolate the expression of the channels to specific areas of the body such as a brain region so as to concentrate the effects on an area under study while preventing channels appearing elsewhere.

Thereafter, exposure to light can open or close these channels, allowing or preventing secretions of chemicals such as neurotransmitters; different effects can be obtained independently or simultaneously by using multiple frequencies of light from an implanted optrode (pictured above) and corresponding channels. The aforementioned device combines a laser emitter and electrode, which can simultaneously monitor neuron activity as well as administer pulses of laser light when needed.

What does all of this accomplish? Control to this extent allows research of living brains, the ways in which they function and the ways in which they fail to function. Right now, optogenetics is being applied to better our understanding of some of the most terrible neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and chronic anxiety.