Science  08 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5634, pp. 741

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  1. EXHIBITS: Lesson From the Anatomy Master

    Many historians consider the treatise De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) by 16th century Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius the most influential medical work ever. But few people could plow through all 663 pages of Vesalius's tangled Latin. Now medicos and scholars can read a friendly English translation of the classic's first volume, which covers bones and ligaments, at this site from two experts at Northwestern University in Illinois. They plan to post the Fabrica's other six volumes within about 2 years, producing the first complete translation of the work's two editions into English.

    A champion of careful observation, Vesalius (1514–1564) helped modernize medicine and anatomy by insisting on meticulous dissection of human cadavers. The detailed woodcuts in his 1543 masterwork set the standard for future medical illustrations. Classicist Daniel Garrison and Malcolm Hast, professor emeritus of otolaryngology, have enhanced the illustrations to sharpen details and added copious annotations. Essays by Garrison and other experts put Vesalius and his work into historical context and dissect the book's themes.

  2. RESOURCES: In the Dinosaur Den

    Curated by dinosaur enthusiast Fred Bervoets of Rotterdam, Netherlands, DinoData brims with facts and figures on the extinct reptiles. You can find everything from the sites that yielded skeletons of the toothy meat-eater Allosaurus to a list of all known dinosaur specimens with preserved skin. Browse the species listing to uncover basic information such as size, diet, and fossil localities for hundreds of kinds of dinosaurs. Or search by broader categories to learn which species hail from a particular country, formation, or time period. Diagrams help you bone up on dinosaur skeletal anatomy, and backgrounders investigate paleontological controversies, such as whether the creatures were warm-blooded and how they are related to birds.

    An impressive gallery boasts drawings and paintings from more than a dozen artists, including this image of Styracosaurus, a spiky Cretaceous herbivore. You'll also find a list of species whose fossilized eggs have been discovered, a database that records fossils and casts held by European museums, and pages on the flying and swimming reptiles that coexisted with the dinosaurs.

  3. SOFTWARE: Seeing the Forest for the Trees

    Evolutionary biologists and population geneticists have a new tool to help them tackle such problems as measuring the speed of viral evolution and determining when the common ancestor of a group of organisms lived. Answering these questions requires that researchers draw a phylogenetic tree, usually from gene sequence data, but uncertainty over which pattern of branches is correct can snarl the analysis. Rather than relying on a single tree, a program called BEAST uses a statistical technique called Bayesian analysis to provide answers by averaging over all plausible trees. Users who have mastered other phylogeny programs such as PAUP can handle BEAST, says co-creator Alexei Drummond of the University of Oxford, U.K. But he and colleague Andrew Rambaut plan to release a tamer version that won't eat up novices. Download a free copy of the program here.

  4. IMAGES: Hurricane Watch

    Hurricane Claudette walloped Texas last month, killing two people and driving thousands from their homes. But from high in the air, it looked almost delicate as it swirled across the Gulf of Mexico. For more shots of historical and recent hurricanes, many taken by satellites and astronauts, check out this gallery from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The more than 100 photos of storms and storm-chasing scientists date back to 1968 and include some of the most destructive hurricanes of the period, such as 1992's Andrew, which blasted South Florida. To see violent storms on the move, click on the video gallery of tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons.