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Endo H., Frey R. (eds.) Anatomical Imaging. Towards a New Morphology

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Endo H., Frey R. (eds.) Anatomical Imaging. Towards a New Morphology
Издательство Springer, 2008, -146 pp.
From early on, anatomical imaging proceeded along three tracks that promoted each other mutually. One track consisted of human beings interested in the organic structure of animals and humans. This track comprises Paleo- and Neolithic hunters, shamans and clairvoyants of Sumeran and Babylonian times, dissecting artists of the Middle Ages, e.g., Leonardo da Vinci, and leads us to skilled and creative scientific anatomists of modern times. The second one consisted of technologies involved in the processing of images. Thus, a short walk through the history of anatomical imaging will bring us from cave paintings via written information only, via drawings, paintings, engravings, lithographies and prints to black and white photography, roentgenography, analogue colour photography, digital photography, offset printing, analogue and digital video, ultrasound imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomographic scanning and software-based three-dimensional reconstructions. The third one consisted of the media available or specifically made as a carrier for the images. It started with rock surfaces, then clay tablets, continued with parchment and paper, wooden blocks, copper plates, lime stones and brought us to photographic film, roentgen film and computer screens (Tab. 1).
Ever since the beginnings, presentation of the three-dimensional results of anatomical dissections had to choose between either the reduction to two-dimensional illustrations on a flat surface or the making of three-dimensional anatomical models. Both ways have been pursued for millennia. Two-dimensional fifigures predominated owing to much easier production and handling. This way was particularly successful since the availability of paper and even more so after invention of the printing press. However, sculptures (and bas-relief frescoes, etc) have long been a popular three-dimensional alternative for portraying anatomy. More recently, three-dimensional anatomical wax models were en vogue in the 18th century. Produced by a famous Italian school in Florence, more than one thousand were ordered by the Austrian emperor and transported on mules across the Alps to Vienna. They were used for anatomic teaching of military physicians and later for public education. The preservation of dissected specimens in formalin (a hydrate of formaldehyde) or similar substances has been a mainstay of anatomists not earlier than the second half of the nineteenth century. Most recently, a German anatomist invented the plastination of real bodies. Subsequent to dissection such methods, that substitute body fluid by synthetic resins, allow for directly presenting the intrinsic three-dimensional structure of an anatomical specimen.
Since the time of Vesalius printed books have been used to teach anatomy and to make anatomical results accessible to a greater audience. In most cases the translation from three to two dimensions was done by a skilled artist under guidance of the anatomist. The illustrations to Vesalius’s epochal first comprehensive human anatomy text (1543) were made by Stephan van Kalkar, a student of Tizian. One of the latest textbooks on human anatomy (2005) applies a digital drawing technique to generate ‘computed drawings’ of almost 3-dimensional plasticity. This is part of the transition to modern computed virtual three-dimensional reconstructions of investigated specimens where three dimensions are provided by a machine. Serial scanned slices are reconstructed to create virtual translucent anatomical specimens. With these technologies the ancient dream of the classical anatomists came true: the look through the skin onto anatomical structures and the investigation of sections in any desired plane without destruction of the specimen. In addition to this new quality of visual investigations, computerized X-ray-based scanning transfers all data points of the real specimen automatically into an exactly corresponding virtual 3-dimensional space so that diverse quantifications of specific features can be executed on the computer screen.
At the moment modern technologies cannot replace anatomical dissections owing to a lack of resolution of the soft parts. Accordingly, best results can be obtained by using traditional methods and modern technologies in combination.
Against the above roughly sketched backdrop of the historical development of anatomical imaging, the aim of this book is not historical. Instead, it has been designed to provide an insight into modern anatomical imaging by presenting selected works of contemporary evolutionary morphologists, most of whom met July 31 – August 5 2005 at the IX-th International Mammalogical Congress in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. Chapters are arranged in correspondence with major parts of the vertebrate body (head, limbs, skeleton, reproductive organs, etc.). A short preface to each chapter explains the specific kind of anatomical imaging involved therein. Inevitably, such an insight provided by few authors, working in different fields and applying a variety of technologies, must remain fragmentary. Nonetheless we are confident to having made a book that can be an inspiration for other workers in the field, for academic and non-academic readers and for all those who are fascinated by the aesthetic appeal of anatomical structures.
Color Plates.
Head Anatomy of Male and Female Mongolian Gazelle – A Striking Example of Sexual Dimorphism.
Anatomical Peculiarities of the Vocal Tract in Felids.
The Anatomical Foundation for Multidisciplinary Studies of Animal Limb Function: Examples from Dinosaur and Elephant Limb Imaging Studies.
Locomotion-related Femoral Trabecular Architectures in Primates – High Resolution Computed Tomographies and Their Implications for Estimations of Locomotor Preferences of Fossil Primates.
Three-dimensional Imaging of the Manipulating Apparatus in the Lesser Panda and the Giant Panda.
Using CT to Peer into the Past: 3D Visualization of the Brain and Ear Regions of Birds, Crocodiles, and Nonavian Dinosaurs.
Evolutionary Morphology of the Autonomic Cardiac Nervous System in Non-human Primates and Humans.
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