An illustration of an anatomy class, students watch a surgron open a body while a physician lectures from a podium.


  1. How were the cadavers preserved? The climate was warm, there was no air conditioning, no freezing to maintain the body in a un corrupted state. Bodies were hard to come by and I doubt that a specimen could be discarded after just one day of demonstration. I suspect that the bodies were maintained by applying solutions such as formaldehyde to prevent decomposition. If anyone has any information I would like to hear it. Thank you

  2. There was very little that could be done to preserve cadavers in the 16th century- they had to be dissected quickly, and dissection instructions generally advised that one start with the abdomen- the area that would decompose the fastest. Public dissections were done once or twice a year, and some medical schools would arrange to do them in the winter months when weather was expected to be cooler, which might also slow down the cadaver’s deterioration. Formaldehyde was not invented/discovered until 1859.

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