06/24/2013 01:18 pm ET Updated Aug 24, 2013

8 Fascinating Anatomy History Facts (PHOTOS)

We are each the owner-operator of our own human body. So it's odd we don't know more about it. I'm scientifically trained, but I knew next to nothing about it when I started to write Anatomies. (A paradox of the British education system I went through was that in order to specialize in some sciences, such as chemistry, I had to give up others, in particular biology, at an early age.)

There are many reasons for our ignorance, some good, some less so: the impossibility of looking inside the normal body, the closed shop of the medical profession, prudishness, terror and disgust. Even the contemporary scientific image of the body - as DNA molecules, genetic code, and our genome - seem almost calculated to remove us from any immediate sense of ourselves.

I say "owner-operator" for good reason. We both are bodies and have bodies. This gives us a strange sense of ourselves, at once embodied and yet disembodied. We seem to be relatively at ease with our consciousness or "soul," but often regard our bodies as a bit of a nuisance.

We should try to be more at ease with it. Here, I've selected some key scenes to do with getting the measure of the human body and being able to look inside it. No scalpel needed. Enjoy.

Fascinating Anatomy History