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May 2, 1977

Advances in Gross Anatomy in the 20th Century

JAMA. 1977;237(18):1954-1959. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270450044018

"The structure of the body hasn't changed much since Vesalius, has it?" "No, neither has the atomic nucleus."

Attributed to Lactantius

THE RECENT reprinting of the first (1901) Gray's Anatomy of the century1 has prompted a consideration of what advances gross anatomy has made in the first three quarters of this century. At first glance, the 1901 Gray's Anatomy seems very similar to a current text. What has been added since 1901 are structures of small dimension, but with great physiologic impact. This communication will concern itself with gross anatomy, referring briefly to the findings of microscopy or physiology where these add substantially to the consideration of gross structures. This is in keeping with the traditional reliance of anatomists on those disciplines to add meaning to the disclosures of dissection.

CARDIAC CONDUCTION SYSTEM  When we examine the 1901 edition of Gray and compare it with present day knowledge, the