Last weekend, Sairalyn and I went down to South Street Seaport to (finally) check out the BODIES exhibition. It only took just about everyone I know (friends and clients alike) seeing the exhibit and reporting back to me that
“…A guy like you would LOVE this exhibit! It’s totally the kind of thing you’d be into.”
which is not an untrue statement. Aside from snowboarding being the focus of our lives for the past four months, I’ve avoided the BODIES exhibit because I figured, hey, I got enough of that stuff when I was a student Teaching Assistant for Functional Human Anatomy Lab at Rutgers University (Reaching into the cadavers and pulling the small intestine out for freshmen to examine, in all its warm, slippery glory was one of the highlights of that experience). I figured that a static exhibit that one isn’t allowed to touch wouldn’t compare to the visceral experience that teaching those labs gave me.
Well, I was wrong. I loved the BODIES exhibition – it was great. Sairalyn was a tad creeped out at the beginning, but she got into it after desensitizing herself to the fact that we were examining the remains of once living, breathing human beings. She particularly enjoyed the circulatory system exhibit (also my favorite). After injecting the blood vessels with a silicone polymer, chemicals are used to melt away the other body tissues, leaving a perfect preservation of all the vesels to the last capillary. It’s really incredible to see the amount of detail and the sheer density of the capillary beds in both the venous and arterial specimens.
Two things of note:
1) Sairalyn noticed that most of the full-body specimens were male. There were only 2 female full-body sepcimens. I wonder why that is?
2) Most of the specimens were smokers – you could tell by the condition of the lungs (blackened and slightly shriveled). That’s too bad.
All in all, I’d say that it was an afternoon well spent.
BTW, there was a guy there that was getting even more into it than I was. He must have been an anatomist or something, because he was pointing out all the muscles – and I mean ALL of them. To a much more detailed degree than I was.
An explanation is in order:
When you look at a real human body, the muscles aren’t as clearly defined as they look in books and picture atlases of the body, save perhaps the arm. Particularly in the torso, the muscles intermesh together and it’s only by knowing, inside and out, all the muscles and their attachment points and anatomical function that you can discern which ones are which.
This guy was a champ – he knew every single one, even the small muscles of the hip (how anyone can discern inferior and superior gemellus in situ is beyond my understanding). My hat’s off to him.