Anatomy is a  branch of science that deals with the body structures of humans, animals, and other living organisms mainly represented by the dissection of individual parts.

Anatomy could be classified as human, plant (phytotomy) and animal anatomy (zootomy).


The word anatomy is derived from the Greek word meaning dissection. For the past few years, Anatomy has been dependent on the dissection. The word ‘Anatomy’ and ‘dissection’ have virtually the same meaning in Greek and Latin. Besides the fact that both the words have the same source, anatomy has a broad discipline of its own and the word dissection is completely removed.

The module of Anatomy and Physiology is all about the function and structure of the human body. It consists of cells, tissues, and membranes that build up our body and about how the systems work to help us to stay fit. It explores the anatomical locations, physiological functions of major components in the system.

Anatomy has two main categories namely: Microscopic and Gross Anatomy (macroscopic anatomy).

Microscopic Anatomy (Histology)

Histology slides

Microscopic anatomy is also known as histology. It is the study of tissues and cells of plants, humans, and animals, which are very minute in the structure that are not visible to our naked eye. Histology is the study of the tissues and cells by marking and dividing them into sections and view it under the microscope. The tissues are dissected into thin slices so that they could be clearly examined. Stains are added to these dissected tissues while examining under the microscope. These stains help in highlighting the structures to examine and compare different types of organisms, their structures and different stages of cell cycle. Histology deals with the study of biological cells and tissues in detail by using microscopes.The professionals involved testing and analyzing of microscopic organisms in the lab are called histologists.

Application of Histology

  1. Histology slides are often used in medical institutes by the lecturers to explain to their students about the microstructures of biological tissues and cells.
  2. Samples are collected from the body and sent for their analysis. By performing the analysis, the reason behind the infections could be easily identified. Also used in post-mortem examination departments for investigating the exact cause of death of a person.
  3. For conducting studies related to the ancient history.
  4. Applied in the hospitals and medical centers for diagnosing certain cancer cells and during biopsies.
  5. Useful in understanding the development of medicine, biology, and other life science domains.

Gross Anatomy

Gross Anatomy

Gross anatomy is also known as topographical anatomy. It is defined as the study of an organism’s structures which are visible to the naked eye. The main objective of anatomy is to obtain the complete information about the structural organization of an organism.

Application of Gross Anatomy includes:

  1. Gross anatomy is used for studying in detail about the different organs.
  2. Used for studying the structures by inserting a tube having a camera fixed at its end into the living organism and this technique is called Endoscopy.
  3. An opaque dye is injected into the blood vessels to view the circulatory system, which is called angiography.
  4. The internal structures and organs of living beings are studied by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-rays.

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Practise This Question

What are external changes visible after the last molt of a cockroach nymph?