ON THE TEACHING OF ANATOMY JACQUES LOEB Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, New York The writer of this article has from time to time (while discussing the methods of teaching anatomy with anatomists) taken occasion to speak critically of the methods in general use. At their suggestion the views expressed are here given. The study of anatomy was originally identified with the search for the nsture of life. One can understand that. the first attempts towards the unravelling of the mechanism of life should have been directed to an investigation of the organs of the human body and their functions. The desire for the understanding of the functions and not the desire for morphological description was uppermost in the minds of the older anatomists. This condition lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century. Even at that time the anatomists were primarily physiologists. Johannes Miiller still wrote a text book of physiology; Henle wrote fascinating articles and books on physiological topics; the Webers, who taught anatomy made discoveries of fundamental importance in physiology and even Helmholtz was at one time, if I am not mistaken, a teacher of anatomy. Anatomy at that period was a thrilling topic full of vital interest, since it was devoted to. the understanding of the functions of the human body and the nature of disease. An example of the text books of the premorphological period of Anatomy is Charles Bell’s, “The Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body.’’ The change in the character of anatomy came i n Germany with the death of Johannes Miiller-but was prepared within his lifetime. According to the biography of Johannes Muller, written by Du Bois-Reymond, Johannes Miiller’s dominating ambition seems to have been to become the German Cuvier. His produc306 THE TEACHING O F ANATOMY 307 tivity in purely descriptive morphology was enormous. Du BoisReymond states that on the average for a number of years Johannes Muller published over forty-eight pagzs of dzscriptive morphology not including the plates. There is a law of mass action in the development of the sciences as well as in chemical reactions tnd if a man as influential and famous as Johannes Muller pours out such quantities of purely descriptive material into the biological flask, it must determine the character of the product. The product was, at the death of Johannes Muller, a neat division of his chair into one for purely descriptive morphologg-anatomjand one for purely experimental science-physiology. Was the result ideal or desirable ? Thewriter doubts it. An Jtomy is a real science if it contributes to the solution of the riddle of life or if i t arouses in the student a desire to look for a solution of this riddle. The purely descriptive and technical way of teaching anatomy which is iri use today cannot and does not arousesuch such a desire in the student. If the writer is creditably informed there are offered at the present time courses in osteology lasting for sixteen weeks, consisting, in addition to regular lectures and quizzes, of two or three afternoons a week of ‘laboritory work’ in osteology devoted to tht. modeling of bones in clay. These efforts are often preceded by a ‘grinding’ course of equal length in descriptive embryology. The scientific interest left in the students after such courses are completed, could certainly no longer be directed towards the ideal of a search for the nature of life. These things are not said with the purpose of critizing individual teachers; the anatomists of this generation find an esttblished tradition of a purely morphological way of presenting Anatomy instead of presenting it in a physiological way. Would it not be natural for the anatomist to give the mechanism of the heartbeat in connection with the anatomical description of this organ; or to discuss the neurogenic theory of the heartbeat and the experiments which prove it, when he describes the ganglia of the heart? Would it not be natural to connect the experimental investigation of the functions of the spinal cord and the brain with the anatomical description of these organs? As a matter of Fact most of thesc experime its, especially those on localiza- 308 JACQUES LOEB tion are in reality of a purely' anatomical character since they merely show the path of fibres. Would it not be natural for the anatomist to discuss the essential experiments on secretion or give the results of the experiments on internal secretion in coanection with the description of the organs and their work? I n this way its original character of a real science would be restored to anatomy instead of its continuing as a purely technical study. A reaction against this latter condition of anatomy has already begun, in this country especially under the leadership of Mall.' Mall, himself is a pupil, not only of His, but also of Ludwig, and almost every one of his assistants and followers have entered the field of experimental embryology or biology. On the other hand, courses in osteology have disappeared from the curriculum of anatomy in Baltimore. If I am not mistaken a return to the functional or physiological mode of teaching anatomy would exactly correspond t o the ideals of Professor Mall. The objection will be raised, what is to become of physiology if such a change is inaugurated? I think physiology could only benefit by it. The real subject of physiology is the dynamics ,of protoplasm or the constitution of living matter. If viewed in this light the physiological laboratories have been for some time in danger of becoming sterile. Enzyme physiology, the phenomena of immunity, the experimental study of heredity, of fertilization, etc., have either been investigated outside of the laboratories of animal physiology or if they have been studied in a physiological laboratory, such work has been condemned as unphysiological, not only by the practitioners of medicine but b y the so-called medical physiologists themselves. What today is called medical physiology proper, is in reality mostly anatomical physiology and should be taught by properly trained anatomists. If this were done, the physiological laboratory could again take its place in the vsnguard of science as it once did in the days of Schwann, Pasteur, Ernest Heinrich Weber and Helmholtz. In Germany the opposition is led especially by Roux in Halle and his followers.