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Spanning The Globe December 2023

It’s time to go spanning the globe for anatomy news and notes:


Diversity in Anatomy

Kudos to professors working on a project to expand diversity in human anatomy illustrations—a.k.a. the Anatomy Video and Imagery Diversity Project, or AVID. The professors are Dave Andrews, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Windsor and Heath, and Heather Jamniczky, a professor in the department of cell-biology and anatomy, at the University of Calgary.


“Diversity and inclusivity matters,” said Dr. Andrews, a kinesiology professor at the University of Windsor in this article. "Students need to see diversity— to see themselves— in the material they’re learning.”

According to the article, AVID has received funding from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and from University of Windsor sources that encourage and support equity, diversity and inclusivity. The pair of professors plan on developing hundreds of images and making them available for non-commercial use in teaching medicine, nursing, kinesiology, and science.

Surprising Things in Our Evolutionary Past

We love a good list and here’s one about human evolution: Five Surprising Things That Our Ancestors Did Thousands of Years Ago. It’s from ZME Science, which we find to be a pretty cool website with lots of interesting articles, by the way. 


Here’s the list:


1.     Our ancestors made baseball-sized spheres—and we’re not sure why.

2.    They colonized rainforests with tool miniaturization.

3.    They interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans.

4.    They performed surgeries.

5.    They made beds 200,000 years ago.


Yes, the surgery on the list was 31,000 years ago with a scalpel made from the sharp edge of a rock, bamboo, or marine shell. And the patient survived, scientists believe, for six to nine years after the repairs.




Bohannon is a researcher and author with a Ph.D. from Columbia University in the evolution of narrative and cognition. Her essays and poems have appeared in Scientific American, Science Magazine, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Georgia Review, The Story Collider, and Poets Against the War. (Poems? We love that fact.)


The New York Times called Eve “a clapback against the tendency of much evolutionary thought to place men, and their furry mancestors, at the center of the action.”



A review of Eve in the Straits Times (the morning newspaper in Singapore) states:

“In each complex comparison of the male and female bodies, Bohannon dismantles assumed narratives of male superiority—shifting the goalposts back to that juncture in time when these traits evolved for reasons of species survival.


“This same proof of sex difference – ‘wound deep into the warp and weft of our physical development, from in-cell organelles all the way up to whole-body features’ – also makes the case that medicine should take women seriously.”


We are here for any review that uses the word ‘weft’ and we are also here for any scholarly analysis that urges a reconsideration of the female in human evolution.


Barry Lopez

Speaking of evolution—well, we could always be speaking of evolution—we are reading the late intense and thoughtful memoir-narrative Horizon by Barry Lopez. The book is a terrific contemplation on the natural world, civilization, barbarism, economic classes, oppression, and beauty. Yes, he mixes it all together. Occasionally he is angry (and justifiably so).


During his account of a trip to the Galapagos, Lopez contemplates the true accomplishments of Charles Darwin and how radical his thinking was at the time. At the time Darwin was publishing his radical theories, Lopez notes, biology was viewed primarily as a “descriptive science.” Biology was “largely in the hands of gentlemen naturalists, people with nothing more serious on their minds than the twittering of birds and the blooming of roses.”


What Darwin accomplished, writes Lopez, “was to put biology on a level with physics and chemistry as a path of inquiry into the nature of the natural world.”


As Bohannon’s rethinking about the role of the female in evolution makes clear, that “path of inquiry” continues to this day.


And long may that curiosity run.





#anatomyinclay #anatomy #clay #diversityinanatomy #surprisingthingsinourevolutionarypast #eve #barrylopez


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