COOL IMAGES: Body Surfing

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Science  26 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5406, pp. 1223
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5406.1223c

Cutting up cadavers while poring over a textbook used to be the only way to learn anatomy. These days there's a less messy alternative: online reconstructions such as this heart, from the Digital Anatomist Project at the University of Washington, Seattle. In the 1980s, this group began slicing up cadavers, digitizing images of the slices, and using a computer to turn the 2D images into 3D structures. The effort inspired the National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project, which has put data for two entire human bodies At the Washington Web site, where bright colors help students pick out structures, you'll find atlases of the brain, thoracic organs, and the knee—mostly still images but also a few movies. Visitors can click to request labels, or take a quiz (can you find the ascending aorta and the pulmonary veins?).

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