Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon


    An introduction to the study of anatomy throughout history and how anatomical terminology used to this day has roots in classical languages such as Greek and Latin.

    In the field of anatomy and the medical sciences, there are countless examples of words, phrases and terminologies that have interesting roots and origins derived from the classical languages. This paper, titled ‘Origins of Anatomical Language’, uses a blended learning approach to studying the meaning of words that we use to describe the structures and functions of the organs and systems of our body.

    Lectures will give rich and detailed histories of how anatomical and medical terminology has evolved from the classical languages such as Greek and Latin, and these will in turn be supplemented with laboratory based “seeing anatomy in action” practical classes, to be held in the fascinating W.D. Trotter Anatomy Museum and Histology Classroom. We will focus on major systems of the body - such as the brain, musculoskeletal system, heart and gut - and cherry-pick interesting structures and tease out the origins of the terminology used to describe these areas. This paper merges the intricate wonder of the form and function of the human body with the beauty of art and language.

    About this paper

    Paper title Origins of Anatomical Language
    Subject Anatomy
    EFTS 0.1500
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Science
    Students who intend to take Health Sciences First Year should only take ANAT131 after completing Health Sciences First Year.

    Anatomy Office
    Room 231, 2nd Floor
    Lindo Ferguson Building (LFB)
    Tel 479 7362

    Teaching staff

    Teaching staff to be confirmed. Please contact the Department for more information.

    Teaching Arrangements

    On campus.

    This paper will not be offered to distance students due to the nature of the laboratory work involved and the associated Terms requirements.


    There will be no formal textbook for this paper. Students will be given access to selected peer-reviewed journal articles to supplement their learning.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Objectives - by completion of this paper students are expected to:

    1. Develop a vocabulary of appropriate terminology related to anatomy and the roots that embedded in classical languages such as Greek and Latin (Lifelong Learning; Interdisciplinary Perspective; Communication; Information Literacy)
    2. Develop an awareness of the history of the medical sciences, the practice of dissection and the study of the human body (Lifelong Learning; Interdisciplinary Perspective; Communication; Information Literacy; Cultural Understanding)
    3. Recognize key anatomical structures and explain the functions of human body systems, while concurrently relating them to the environment and objects that were derivatives for the terminology used to describe them today (Lifelong Learning; Critical Thinking)
    4. Demonstrate good laboratory practices that are used to examine anatomical structures and explore the functions of each organ system (Critical Thinking; Communication; Information Literacy; Teamwork)
    5. Identify/locate tissues and structures from surface anatomy, human cadaveric specimens, models, diagrams and micrographs (Lifelong Learning; Teamwork; Communication; Information Literacy)
    6. Actively work in team-based learning groups with the opportunity to engage in constructive discussions, collaborative workflow and completion of group-based assessments (Lifelong Learning; Teamwork; Communication; Information Literacy)


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
    Back to top