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How Accurate Were Leonardo Da Vinci's Anatomy Drawings? 108

antdude writes "BBC News answers how accurate were Leonardo da Vinci's anatomy drawings — 'During his lifetime, Leonardo made thousands of pages of notes and drawings on the human body. He wanted to understand how the body was composed and how it worked. But at his death in 1519, his great treatise on the body was incomplete and his scientific papers were unpublished. Based on what survives, clinical anatomists believe that Leonardo's anatomical work was hundreds of years ahead of its time, and in some respects it can still help us understand the body today. So how do these drawings, sketched more than 500 years ago, compare to what digital imaging technology can tell us today?'"
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How Accurate Were Leonardo Da Vinci's Anatomy Drawings?

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  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @03:51PM (#39909967) Homepage Journal


    Betteridge's Law of Headlines is an adage that states, "Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word 'no'".

    For the record, the article concludes that Da Vinci's drawings were better in some respects than the 19th century editions of Gray's Anatomy.

  • Andreas Vesalius (Score:5, Informative)

    by EdwinFreed ( 1084059 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @06:30PM (#39910739)
    Irrespective of their quality, Da Vinci's drawings did little at the time to challenge the use of Galen's work (which was based on dissection of animals and therefore quite inaccurate). That particular bit of heavy lifting was done by Andreas Vesalius, who not only debunked Galen, but was also the first to publish a comprehensive work on anatomy (De Humani Corporis Fabrica). His work has repeatedly been found to be highly accurate, especially considering the conditions under which it was produced. An amusing side note is that it was so well regarded it was extensively pirated.

    Vesalius made a lot of enemies by going against what amounted to the medical establishment of the time. After repeated challenges his critics actually resorted to the howler that the human body must have changed (evolved? ;) since Galen studied it.

    Vesalius has always been a personal hero of mine - a guy who developed an interest in an an important area (anatomy), and pursued it, at great personal cost, with as much thoroughness and rigor as could be had at the time.
  • by zaphod777 ( 1755922 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @10:08PM (#39911997)
    Actually due to religious beliefs at the time if he was caught dissecting corpses he would have been imprisoned and most likely executed. So his research was done at much peril.

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