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Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus V: Skeletal System


Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed


Skeletal Systems Listed Alphabetically

Skeletal Systems Listed by Region

Glossary of Terms


List of Useful Books

Vesalius Skeletons

Image Hippocratis
Hipocrates, Opera, tr Jano Coronaria, Basilea, Jerónimo Froben y Nicolás Episcopio, 1546.
Hippocrates Medical Book, written in Latin, seen in the library
Exconvento de Santo Domingo Oaxaca (Centro Cultural Museum), Mexico.

From the 1903 Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, volume XIV, pp. 318-319, article by Harvy Cushing:

"From an anatomical standpoint, instances of cervical rib are not exceedingly uncommon, and indeed reports of this anomaly are to be found in very early medical literature.

Sir Thomas Brown in his Pseudoxia Epidemica or Commentaries on Vulgar Eerors (Second Edition, London, 1650, p. 292) speaks of the heated discussion over the biblical story, which arose from the description by Colombus of a female skeleton which possessed a supernumerary rib.

'That a Man hath one Rib lesse than a Woman, is a common conceit derived from the history of Genesis, wherein it stands delivered, that Eve was framed out of a rib of Adam; whence 'tis concluded the sex of Man still wants that rib our Father lost in Eve. And this is not only passant with the many, but was urged against Columbus in an Anatomy of his at Pisa; where having prepared the sceleton of a Woman that chanced to have thirteen ribs on one side, there arose a party that cried him down, and even unto oathes affirmed, this was the rib wherein a woman exceeded. Were this true, it would autoptically silence that dispute out of which side Eve was framed; it would determine the opinion of Oleaster, the she was made out of the ribs of both sides; or such as from the expression of the Text maintain there was a pleurality required, and might indeed decry the parabolicall exposition of Origen, Cajetan, and such as fearing to concede a monstrousity, or mutilate the integrity of Adam; preventively conceive the creation of thirteen ribs.'"

Image Derrycity sign

Derry Coat of Arms.
Skeletal motifs are commonly used.

From the Bible:

"And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was descended from the giants."

Second Samuel 21:20.

Johannes Lang in the Preface (1990) to his elegant book entitled "Clinical Anatomy of the Posterior Cranial Fossa and its Foramina" (Thieme, Stuttgart) writes, "There exists today the widespread and popular impression that the human body, after many hundreds of years of macroscopic and microscopic research, has been completely and exhaustively described. However, particularly by studying the modern anatomy textbooks, it is clear that this is by no means the case. The old craft and the old art of anatomy - working with the hands and thinking about what is seen, considering in the truest sense what has been perceived - is no longer of any interest to many anatomists."

Further (from Lang, and slightly modified to include the hope of the present authors), it is our sincere hope that the information contained in these pages and Dr. Lang's book and publications will help to make anatomy a friend to those doctors involved in diagnosis and surgery, thus making their diagnoses more certain and their interventions as gentile and successful as possible.

Dr. Lang's books should be read by those with a vital interest in variation and human anatomy, particularly in the head and neck.

"The days when medics cut up dogfish have long gone (and many no longer even cut up Homo sapiens, so anxious are they to get to their sociology course)." Steve Jones, Perspectives, THE LANCET, volume 364, number 9440, September 25 - October 1, 2004.

Eight hundred - eighty three journals were reviewed. Complete journal titles, rather than their cited abbreviated form given with referenced articles, can be found listed in part 2, Cardiovascular System.

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