In its broadest concept, Anatomy is the science that studies, macro and microscopically, the constitution and development of organized beings.
An excellent and broad concept of anatomy was proposed in 1981 by the American Association of Anatomists: anatomy is the analysis of biological structure, its correlation with function and with structure modulations in response to temporal, genetic and environmental factors. Its main goals are the understanding of the architectural principles of the construction of living organisms, the discovery of the structural basis of the functioning of the various parts and the understanding of the formative mechanisms involved in their development. The extent of anatomy comprises, in temporal terms, from the study of long-term changes in structure in the course of evolution to those of intermediate duration changes in development, growth, and aging; even short-term changes associated with different phases of normal functional activity.
In terms of the size of the studied structure, it goes from an entire biological system, through whole organisms and / or their organs to cellular organelles and macromolecules.
The word Anatomy is derived from the Greek anatome (ana = through; tome = cut). Dissection derives from Latin (dis = separate; secare = cut) and is etymologically equivalent to anatomy. However, today, Anatomy is the science, while dissecting is one of the methods of this science.
His study has a long and interesting history since the dawn of human civilization. Initially limited to the observable by the naked eye and body manipulation, it has expanded over time thanks to the acquisition of innovative technologies.
Currently, Anatomy can be subdivided into three major groups: Macroscopic Anatomy, Microscopic Anatomy and Developmental Anatomy.
THE Macroscopic Anatomy is the study of structures observable to the naked eye, using or not the most variable technological resources possible, while Microscopic Anatomy is that related to body structures invisible to the naked eye and requires the use of instruments for magnification, such as magnifying glasses, optical and electron microscopes. This group is divided into Cytology (cell study) and Histology (tissue study and how they are organized for organ formation).
THE Anatomy of Development It studies the development of the individual from the fertilized egg to the adult form. It encompasses embryology, which is the study of development through birth.
Human Anatomy, Plant Anatomy and Comparative Anatomy are also specializations of anatomy. In comparative anatomy, a comparative study of the structure of different animals (or plants) is made in order to verify the relationships between them, which can elucidate aspects of their evolution.