What is anatomy?

The Greek word anatomy means the science of dissection. As such, anatomy uses corpses to explore the composition of the human body and the significance of its organs. The purpose of anatomy is always to serve the living, an aim that is expressed by the motto “Mors auxilium vitae” which is written above the North-westerly entrance of our institute.

Anatomy has always provided the basic knowledge for the natural as well as the medical sciences. Today, anatomy is much more than just the science of dissection. The term has remained the same but its tasks are much more widespread now. Today several specialized sciences with their different methods and ways of investigation are clustering around the basic historical science of anatomy. One thing, however, the old and new sciences have in common: they all seek to describe and understand the composition and the functions of the human body by exact observations.

The most important aim of anatomy is the examination of the human body. However, there are many things that cannot be observed in humans. Many important findings result from studies on more or less highly developed animals; these studies have been (and still are) especially successful in embryology and cell biology.

No science can exist without contact to others, and neither can anatomy. There are many connections between our subject and other fields of knowledge, especially physiology, applied and operative surgery and zoology.