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Ve·sa·li·us(vĭ-sā′lē-əs, -zā′-), Andreas 1514-1564.
Flemish anatomist and surgeon who is considered the founder of modern anatomy. His major work, On the Structure of the Human Body (1543), contains numerous illustrations based on meticulous dissection of cadavers that he performed while in Padua.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Ve·sa·li·us(vĭ-sā′lē-əs), Andreas 1514-1564.
Flemish anatomist and surgeon who is considered the founder of modern anatomy. His major work, On the Structure of the Human Body (1543), was based on his own dissection of cadavers.
Biography Vesalius followed his family's tradition and studied medicine. Once he received his degree, he began teaching and overseeing demonstrations of anatomy to students. To improve his knowledge he also dissected cadavers—something that was unusual for a man in his position, who would properly have left such work to an assistant. After a few years, he became convinced that the anatomical theories put forward by Galen, a Greek physician whose ideas had been accepted as authoritative for over 1,000 years, were not based on the human body. Instead, Vesalius maintained that Galen's description of the human body was based on dissections of pigs, dogs, and other animals. Vesalius did what no one had done before: he critically evaluated Galen's anatomical texts, comparing them with the observations that he made himself during his dissections. Vesalius compiled his findings in a book on anatomy. He had artists make illustrations for it, and he supervised their work. His On the Structure of the Human Body was the most extensive and accurate description of the human body that had ever been compiled. By relying on careful observation instead of received wisdom, Vesalius revolutionized the field of anatomy, and of medicine and biology as well.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.