Anatomy is the identification and description of the structures of living things. It is a branch of biology and medicine.
The study of anatomy dates back more than 2,000 yearsTrusted Source, to the Ancient Greeks. There are three broad areas:
animal anatomy — zootomy
plant anatomy — phytotomy
Human anatomy is the study of the structures of the human body. An understanding of anatomy is key to the practice of medicine and other areas of health.
The word “anatomy” comes from the Greek words “ana,” meaning “up,” and “tome,” meaning “a cutting.” Traditionally, studies of anatomy have involved cutting up, or dissecting, organisms.
Now, however, imaging technology can show us much about how the inside of a body works, reducing the need for dissection.
Below, learn about the two main approaches: microscopic anatomy and gross, or macroscopic, anatomy.