Are the Greeks the first to delve deeply into the human anatomy? That was believed, but no. The origin of this science is more in the east. In particular in the medical manuscripts of Mawangdui. They were found in a Chinese grave in the early 1970s. One study interprets it as the oldest anatomical description in the world. It is published by The Anatomical Record. The authors are Vivien Shaw and Isabelle Winder from Bangor University and Rui Diogo from Howard University. They challenge the traditional view that anatomy has its roots in Classical Greece.
Anatomy 2000 years ago
The manuscripts were discovered near Changsha in south-central China. They were born about 2,200 years ago in 168 BC. BC placed in a grave. This reinterpretation of the texts would make it the oldest surviving anatomical atlas in the world.
Vivien Shaw is Professor of Anatomy at Bangor University School of Medical Sciences. He studied anatomy in ancient Chinese medical texts for more than seven years.
She explains it It’s a statement. “We have to look at these texts from a different perspective. We have the western medical view of the body’s separate arterial, venous and nervous systems. The authors did not understand this. Instead, they looked at the body from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine. It is based on the philosophical concept of the complementary opposites of yin and yang that is familiar to those in the West who follow Eastern spiritualism.
Read between the lines
The co-author is Izzy Winder from the College of Natural Sciences. He said: “We have reinterpreted the lyrics. They describe eleven “paths” through the body. Some of them are clearly assigned to the posterior merupians of acupuncture. We were able to show significant parallels between the descriptions in the text and the anatomical structures.
Vivien Shaw added, “Our results are rewriting an important part of Chinese history. The contemporary Han era was a time of great learning and innovation in the arts and sciences. This type of classical anatomy fits in with the prevailing culture of the time. It is widely believed that there is no scientific basis for the “anatomy of acupuncture”. But the first doctors to write about the meridians actually described the physical body. ‘
The oldest anatomical description in the world thus relates to acupuncture. “Our interpretation shows that the original anatomists mapped the structure of the body, not its function,” he added.