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Dr David Bainbridge

Dr David Bainbridge

University Clinical Veterinary Anatomist

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 333799, Fax: +44 (0) 1223 333786

Research Interests

I am University Clinical Veterinary Anatomist and am responsible for organising and teaching much of the pre-clinical veterinary course at Cambridge.

In the first year, all veterinary students study the anatomy of the limbs and trunk of the major mammalian domestic species. In their second year they receive specialised teaching on the nervous system and head, as well as a more general course on the biology of non-mammalian vertebrates and 'non-standard' mammalian species. Our teaching of gross anatomy is informed by contemporary research in evolutionary and developmental biology, as well as an emphasis on the clinical relevance of anatomy.

In the second year, the veterinary students also receive a dedicated course on reproductive biology. This is a fully integrated approach to the anatomy, physiology, ecology and artificial management of reproduction. Students are encouraged to go beyond what is strictly necessary to function as a clinician and consider the wider aspects of this subject.

I am actively involved in the public understanding of science, having written popular science books (below), as well as regularly delivering talks at schools. For more information about my books, see

I am also responsible for maintaining the History of Veterinary Anatomy page.

Key Publications

Bainbridge DRJ, (2015), Curvology: The Origins and Power of Female Body Shape, Portobello, London

Bainbridge DRJ, (2012), Middle Age: A Natural History, Portobello, London

Bainbridge DRJ, (2009), Teenagers: A Natural History, Portobello, London

Bainbridge DRJ, (2009), The normal anatomy of the soft tissue structures of the pelvis, in Equine Back Pathology, Ed. Henson, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK

Bainbridge DRJ, (2008), The sea horse and the cockerel's spur, NewScientist, 197, 40-43

Bainbridge DRJ, (2008), Beyond The Zonules of Zinn: A fantastic journey through your brain, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Bainbridge DRJ, (2005), Les metamorphoses d'un chromosome sexuel, La Recherche, 385, 29-40

Bainbridge DRJ, (2003), The double life of women, NewScientist, 178, 42-45

Bainbridge DRJ, (2003), The X in Sex: How the X chromosome controls our lives, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Bainbridge DRJ, (2000), A Visitor Within: The Science of Pregnancy, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London

Bainbridge DRJ, Jabbour HN, (1998), The potential of assisted breeding techniques for conservation of endangered mammalian species: a review, Veterinary Record, 143, 159-168

Above: Many of the diseases of the domestic species trace their origins to developmental processes. Many of these processes have become more prone to perturbation because of short-sighted control of breeding and the use of immature animals as athletes.

Above: Some structural modifications appear to be so effective that they have evolved repeatedly in the vertebrates. In this image of the underside of a turtle's skull, the large plate of bone at the top is the hard palate – a shelf of bone which separates mouth and nose cavities and provides torsional rigidity to the skull. A similar structure has independently evolved in both crocodilians and mammals.

Above: A red deer embryo created by in vitro fertilisation. The embryo is at the two cell stage and lies inside a glassy coat, the zona pellucida, within which the small second polar body is also visible. Sperm tails may also be seen embedded in the zona.