skip to content

Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


Contact email:

The purpose of this program.

The purpose of the Video Atlas is to shorten the learning time needed, to gain an accurate three-dimensional understanding of human structure. It is designed to show you, in the simplest way, the true appearance of the structures of the human body. It is not intended to be either a guide to the process of cadaver dissection, or a replacement for it!

How this program works.

Each of the six volumes of the Video Atlas is divided into a number of sections. Each section is divided into short sub-sections. Each volume consists of approximately 60 sub-sections. These vary in length: the average length is 2.5 minutes.

The functions of this streaming video program are self-explanatory, whether you navigate with the Index or the Table of Contents. When you select a structure in the Index, the sub-section that includes it appears in the table of contents, highlighted. On the far right a side box appears, listing the structures that are included in that sub-section. When you click on a sub-section it starts playing. You can fast-forward and reverse within a sub-section.

What this program shows.

The Video Atlas shows dissections of real, unembalmed human bodies. The bodies used were those of individuals who had chosen to give their bodies for use in medical education and research. No artificial material was added to the specimens before the images were recorded, except that red silicon latex was used to fill the arteries in some specimens. After being recorded, the images were not altered, colorized, or enhanced. The images, therefore, show the appearance of the tissues as they are in the living body. Because the tissues have not been stiffened with preservatives, the images also show their natural texture and mobility.

Some of the images show both sides of the body; some show one side only. When one side is shown, it is always the right side. The body position is constant: it is shown in the upright standing position, with the part shown being usually at the viewer's eye level. If there is a transition to a higher or lower angle of view, you will see the transition happening, or it will be announced.

Both male and female bodies were used to prepare these images. Except for areas where there are marked differences between male and female anatomy, no comment is made about the sex of the individual.

What this program doesn't show.

Some structures are not shown on this program. Cutaneous nerves are not shown, neither are lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes. Fat, found all over the body except in the thinnest individuals, has mostly been removed. Also removed in most of the images are the various layers of fascia. "Fascia" is a term loosely applied to the connective tissue that forms a more or less distinct envelope around each structure, and binds the neighboring structures of the body tightly or loosely to one another. Since fascia obscures the clear outline of each structure, it has been removed in most dissections, to provide a tidy and easily understandable image.

Traditional descriptions of anatomy divide the body into artificial layers, triangles, regions, and compartments. These simplify the task of describing the body in words, but they produce mental barriers to understanding the body as a functioning whole. This program gives scant attention to artificial subdivisions.

Saving video to your hard drive

You can save individual sub-sections of this video program to your hard drive for instructional use. Before doing so, make sure that the use you propose is within the terms of your institution's license agreement with the publisher. To save a sub-section, select it in the table of contents. When the video player window appears, right-click on the words "Download Video Clip" below the window, and select "Save Target as...". (On a Mac, control-click on "Download Video Clip" and select "Download Link to Disk".


Troubleshooting plug-in:


Internet Explorer: Microsoft Media Player plug-in is required to play the Video Atlas.

Firefox browser: Windows Media Player and known issues.

Program License Agreement includes the following conditions:

"INTRANET LICENSE: If you purchased the Software at the Intranet License Price, you may make the software available on a Facility's/Institution's Intranet provided that the Software is available for use only by the Facility's/Institution's current educators, staff, faculty and enrolled students, and provided further that you agree to instruct such individuals who will have such access on the relevant Intranet to the Software to abide by the terms of this License Agreement. If a Facility/Institution or any member of either its respective educators, staff, faculty or enrolled students who are allowed access to the Software under this paragraph fails to comply with any of the terms of this License Agreement, this license shall automatically terminate. Under no circumstance does an INTRANET LICENSE give any party the authority to copy the Software or provide it to individuals or entities who are neither current educators, staff, faculty or enrolled students of a Facility/Institution."