Virtual anatomy: An anatomist's playground



Virtual anatomy presents significant advantages over the reality of a cadaver as it can provide different views and perspectives, portability, longevity, standardization, diversity and most importantly the opportunity to learn the anatomy of the living human body instead of the corpse. Virtual anatomy is the life-like appearance of visible anatomy, a good example of which is the evolution of the Visible Human. Racial and statistical diversity is already developing as the population of photographic “Visible Humans” is now at least 10. Virtual anatomy should include additional diversity and therefore, consideration should be given to the preparation of more visible anatomy that will better support the virtual integration of all areas of physiology, kinematics, pathology and pathophysiology, development and evolution. Integration of anatomists with mathematicians, computer scientists, information scientists, physiologists, pathologists and clinicians (and LIST other basic scientist) is needed in order to facilitate this development. As this unfolds it is proposed, or challenged, that anatomists should maintain their position of responsibility for building anatomy as the foundation for all medical and healthcare education. In order to maintain that position they must understand and participate in this development and enjoy the rewards of teaching more visually empowering, functional, and clinical anatomy. The trip is a long one and is only about to begin but the train is leaving. Are you on board? Clin. Anat. 19:192–203, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.