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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 But at his death in 1519, his great treatise on the body was incomplete and his scientific papers were unpublished.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 AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Sunday May 06, 2012 @03:34PM (#39909881) Homepage Journal

    Or he just cut up a lot of dead bodies to get the dimensions right. The only difference now is that we can look inside someone without them having to be dead first.

  • by dynamator ( 964799 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @04:22PM (#39910133)
    Yet another demonstration of how an illustration by a skilled artist can explain complex structures, mechanisms, and phenomena that cannot be readily photographed. Even computer rendering rely on modelers, animators,and lighters who can take messy, chaotic 3D scans and mocap data and clean up it , analyze and stylize it into a form that shows what's really vital. DaVinci's high accuracy renderings also serve as a prime example to refute David Hockney's outlandish claim that renaissance artists could not have achieve their results without the aid of optical projection tools.
  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @04:40PM (#39910203) Homepage Journal

    Robert A Heinlen - "The Door Into Summer", the character was a grad student of the scientist who invented the time travel machine, named Leonard Vincent. Don't remember the scientist's name, don't remember the protagonist's name, just remember that the protagonist invented CAD - called it "Drafting Dan."

  • by prolene ( 1016716 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @04:55PM (#39910275) Homepage
    How can i answer? Although i am a Doctor and from what i see in the BBC video and the article, the drawings are agreeably hundred of years ahead of his time. In my humble opinion the work done by Leonardo Da Vinci seeded the understanding of Antomy.
  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @05:17PM (#39910363)
    Do engineering students still take drafting courses? Even if you never need to make an engineering drawing, I believe that learning how to make them gives one a better ability to observe the structure and relationship of things. Of course da VInci was better at drawing than most of us.
  • Re:Andreas Vesalius (Score:5, Interesting)

    by avgjoe62 ( 558860 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @08:48PM (#39911571)

    And thank you for sharing this. I had not know about Vesalius before you posted this. Now I have learned something, which means this was a good day. Thank you again for the information.

    And this, despite the frosty piss, the trolls and even the gamemaker spam, is why I still read /.

  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @10:28PM (#39912107) Homepage Journal

    That's right, one of the main lessons of biology is that real life doesn't look like the textbooks!

    When I was learning to draw, I copied Da Vinci's drawings.

    When I studied anatomy, I went back to Da Vinci's anatomical drawings. Comparing them to the modern anatomy books, and the human anatomy I've seen in museums, some of Da Vinci's work was done with uncanny accuracy, but some of his other drawings were just plain wrong. You can see where he was copying from real life, and where he was interpolating and guessing. When he drew from life, he was really good.

    I don't fault him for that. We built on his work. Of course we went beyond him. We had 500 years to do it.

    But every time I see one of those awesome 3D CT and MRI reconstructions that surgeons use before they operate, I wonder what Da Vinci would have thought if he could see them.

  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @10:54PM (#39912209) Homepage Journal

    p.s. I was looking over those drawings again at []

    One of the fascinating things is the way he drew arteries and veins. He drew them straight. In real life, blood vessels are sinusoidal, like river meanders. (There are good fluid mechanical reasons for that.) So he must have been making quick notes.

    I've done that myself, sitting in a lecture with the slides flashing by. I don't have time to make detailed drawings, so I just make quick sketches!

  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @01:01AM (#39912757)
    Yep, in fact we're still learning from the man.

    Francis Wells, who is a heart surgeon at Papworth Hospital, has been fascinated by Leonardo’s anatomical drawings for the past 20 years and changed his surgical practice in the light of Leonardo’s observations on the structure of the mitral valve,” he says.

    "What Leonardo was observing was how the elasticity of the heart and valves was important. It was common for surgeons to put rigid stents in the mitral valve when reconstructing it and Francis Wells has since been using a more subtle approach and trying to preserve some of that elastic nature and has had less failure in his stents as a consequence."
    link []

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