A cadaver is a dead human body that is used by medical students, physicians and other scientists to study anatomy, identify disease sites, determine causes of death, and provide tissue to repair a defect in a living human being. Students in medical school study and dissect cadavers as a part of their education. Others who study cadavers include archaeologists and artists.[1]

The term cadaver is used in courts of law to refer to a dead body, as well as by recovery teams searching for bodies in natural disasters. The word comes from the Latin word cadere ("to fall"). Related terms include cadaverous (resembling a cadaver) and cadaveric spasm (a muscle spasm causing a dead body to twitch or jerk). A cadaver graft (also called “postmortem graft”) is the grafting of tissue from a dead body onto a living human to repair a defect or disfigurement. Cadavers can be observed for their stages of decomposition, helping to determine how long a body has been dead.[2]

Cadavers have been used in art to depict the human body in paintings and drawings more accurately.[3]

Human decay

Cadaver in Refrigerator in the Forensic Medicine at the Charité Berlin

Observation of the various stages of decomposition can help determine how long a body has been dead.

Stages of decomposition

  1. The first stage is autolysis, more commonly known as self-digestion, during which the body's cells are destroyed through the action of their own digestive enzymes. However, these enzymes are released into the cells because of active processes ceasing in the cells, not as an active process. In other words, though autolysis resembles the active process of digestion of nutrients by live cells, the dead cells are not actively digesting themselves as is often claimed in popular literature and as the synonym of autolysis - self-digestion - seems to imply. As a result of autolysis liquid is created that seeps between the layers of skin and results in peeling of the skin. During this stage, flies (when present) begin to lay eggs in the openings of the body: eyes, nostrils, mouth, ears, open wounds, and other orifices. Hatched larvae (maggots) of blowflies subsequently get under the skin and begin to consume the body.
  2. The second stage of decomposition is bloating. Bacteria in the gut begin to break down the tissues of the body, releasing gas that accumulates in the intestines, which becomes trapped because of the early collapse of the small intestine. This bloating occurs largely in the abdomen, and sometimes in the mouth, tongue, and genitals. This usually happens around the second week of decomposition. Gas accumulation and bloating will continue until the body is decomposed sufficiently for the gas to escape.
  3. The third stage is putrefaction. It is the final and longest stage. Putrefaction is where the larger structures of the body break down, and tissues liquefy. The digestive organs, brain, and lungs are the first to disintegrate. Under normal conditions, the organs are unidentifiable after three weeks. The muscles may be eaten by bacteria or devoured by animals. Eventually, sometimes after several years, all that remains is the skeleton. In acid-rich soils, the skeleton will eventually dissolve into its base chemicals.

The rate of decomposition depends on many factors including temperature and the environment. The warmer and more humid the environment, the faster the body is broken down.[4] The presence of carrion-consuming animals will also result in exposure of the skeleton as they consume parts of the decomposing body.


The history of the use of cadavers is one that is filled with controversy, scientific advancements, and new discoveries. It all started in 3rd century ancient Greece with two physicians by the name of Herophilus of Chalcedon and Erasistratus of Ceos.[5]They practiced the dissection of cadavers in Alexandria, and it was the dominant means of learning anatomy.[6] After both of these men died the popularity of anatomical dissection decreased until it wasn't used at all. It wasn't revived until the 12th century and it became increasingly popular in the 17th century and has been used ever since.[5]

Rembrandt - The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt shows an anatomy lesson taking place in Amsterdam in 1632.

Even though both Herophilus and Erasistratus had permission to use cadavers for dissection there was still a lot of taboo surrounding the use of cadavers for anatomical purposes, and these feelings continued for hundreds of years. From the time that anatomical dissection gained its roots in the 3rd century to around the 18th century it was associated with dishonor, immorality, and unethical behavior. Many of these notions were because of religious beliefs and esthetic taboos.[6] and were deeply entrenched in the beliefs of the public and the church. As mentioned above, the dissection of cadavers began to once again take hold around the 12th century. At this time dissection was still seen as dishonorable, however it was not outright banned. Instead, the church put forth certain edicts for banning and allowing certain practices. One that was monumental for scientific advancement was issued by the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II in 1231.[6] This decree stated that a human body will be dissected once every five years for anatomical studies, and attendance was required for all who was training to or currently practicing medicine or surgery.[6] These events are what led to the first sanctioned human dissection since 300 B.C. and was performed publicly by Mondino de Liuzzi.[6]This time period created a great deal of enthusiasm in what human dissection could do for science and attracted students from all over Europe to begin studying medicine.

In light of the new discoveries and advancements that were being made religious moderation of dissection relaxed significantly, however the public perception of it was still negative. Because of this perception, the only legal source of cadavers was the corpses of criminals who were executed, usually by hanging.[5] Many of the offenders whose crimes “warranted” dissection and their families even considered dissection to be more terrifying and demeaning than the crime or death penalty itself. [5] There were many fights and sometimes even riots when relatives and friends of the deceased and soon to be dissected tried to stop the delivery of corpses from the place of hanging to the anatomists.[7] The government at the time (17th century) took advantage of these qualms by using dissection as a threat against committing serious crimes. They even increased the number of crimes that were punished by hanging to over 200 offenses.[7] Nevertheless, as dissection of cadavers became even more popular, anatomists were forced to find other ways to obtain cadavers.

As demand increased for cadavers from universities across the world, people began grave-robbing. These corpses were transported and put on sale for local anatomy professors to take back to their students. [5] The public tended to look the other way when it came to grave-robbing because the affected was usually poor or a part of a marginalized society.[5] There was more out-cry if the affluent or prominent members of society were affected, and this led to a riot in New York most commonly referred to as the Resurrection Riot of 1788. It all started when a doctor waved the arm of a cadaver at a young boy looking through the window, who then went home and told his father. Worrying that his recently deceased wife's grave had been robbed, he went to check on it and realized that it had been. [5] This story spread and people accused local physicians and anatomists. The riot grew to 5,000 people and by the end medical students and doctors were beaten and six people were killed.[5] This led to many legal adjustments such as the Anatomy Acts put forth by the U.S. government. These acts opened up other avenues to obtaining corpses for scientific purposes with Massachusetts being the first to do so. In 1830 and 1833 they allowed unclaimed bodies to be used for dissection. [5] Laws in almost every state were subsequently passed and grave-robbing was essentially eradicated.

Although dissection became increasingly accepted throughout the years, it was still very much disapproved by the American public in the beginning of the 20th century. The disapproval mostly came from religious objections and dissection being associated with unclaimed bodies and therefore a mark of poverty. [5] There were many people that attempted to display dissection in a positive light, for example 200 prominent New York physicians publicly said they would donate their bodies after their death.[5] This and other efforts only helped in minor ways, and public opinion was much more affected by the exposure of the corrupt funeral industry.[5]It was found that the cost of dying was incredibly high and a large amount of funeral homes were scamming people into paying more than they had to.[5] These exposures didn't necessarily remove stigma but created fear that a person and their families would be victimized by scheming funeral directors, therefore making people reconsider body donation.[5] Currently, body donation isn't surrounded by stigma but can be considered as celebrated. Body donation has not only led to scientific advancements and discoveries, it has also led to lives being saved.

Cadavers in art

Leonardo da vinci, Studies of human skull
Study of the human skull by Leonardo da Vinci
Da Vinci Studies of Embryos Luc Viatour
Study of the human embryo by Leonardo da Vinci

The study and teaching of anatomy through the ages would not have been possible without sketches and detailed drawings of discoveries when working with human corpses. The artistic depiction of the placement of body parts plays a crucial role in studying anatomy and in assisting those working with the human body. These images serve as the only glance into the body that most will never witness in person.[8]

Da Vinci collaborated with Andreas Vesalius who also worked with many young artists to illustrate Vesalius’ book "De Humani Corporis Fabrica" and this launched the use of labelling anatomical features to better describe them. It is believed that Vesalius used cadavers of executed criminals in his work due to the inability to secure bodies for this type of work and dissection. He also went to great measures to utilize a spirit of art appreciation in his drawings and also employed other artists to assist in these illustrations.[8]

The study of the human body was not isolated to only medical doctors and students, as many artists reflected their expertise through masterful drawings and paintings. The detailed study of human and animal anatomy, as well as the dissection of corpses, was utilized by early Italian renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci in an effort to more accurately depict the human figure through his work. He studied the anatomy from an exterior perspective as an apprentice under Andrea del Verrocchio that started in 1466.[9] During his apprenticeship, Leonardo mastered drawing detailed versions of anatomical structures such as muscles and tendons by 1472.[9]

His approach to the depiction of the human body was much like that of the study of architecture, providing multiple views and three-dimensional perspectives of what he witnessed in person. One of the first examples of this is using the three dimensional perspectives to draw a skull in 1489.[10] Further study under Verrocchio, some of Leonardo da Vinci's anatomical work was published in his book A Treatise on Painting.[11] A few years later, in 1516, he partnered with professor and anatomist Marcantonio della Torre in Florence, Italy to take his study further. The two began to conduct dissections on human corpses at the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova and later at hospitals in Milan and Rome. Through his study, da Vinci was perhaps the first to accurately draw the natural position of the human fetus in the womb, via cadaver of a late mother and her unborn child.[12] It is speculated that he conducted approximately 30 dissections total.[13] His work with cadavers allowed him to portray the first drawings of the umbilical cord, uterus, cervix and vagina and ultimately dispute beliefs that the uterus had multiple chambers in the case of multiple births.[12] It is reported that between 1504 and 1507, he experimented with the brain of an ox by injecting a tube into the ventricular cavities, injecting hot wax, and scraping off the brain leaving a cast of the ventricles. Da Vinci's efforts proved to be very helpful in the study of the brains ventricular system.[14] Da Vinci gained an understanding of what was happening mechanically under the skin to better portray the body through art.[13] For example, he removed the facial skin of the cadaver to more closely observe and draw the detailed muscles that move the lips to obtain a holistic understanding of that system.[15] He also conducted a thorough study of the foot and ankle that continues to be consistent with current clinical theories and practice.[13] His work with the shoulder also mirrors modern understanding of its movement and functions, utilizing a mechanical description likening it to ropes and pulleys.[13] He also was one of the first to study neuroanatomy and made great advances regarding the understanding of the anatomy of the eye, optic nerves and the spine but unfortunately his later discovered notes were disorganized and difficult to decipher due to his practice of reverse script writing (mirror writing).[16]

For centuries artists have used their knowledge gleaned from the study of anatomy and the use of cadavers to better present a more accurate and lively representation of the human body in their artwork and mostly in paintings. It is thought that Michelangelo and/or Raphael may have also conducted dissections.[8]

The power of observation of the human body continues to be crucial for both the artist and the physician. The doctor will observe to discover if any abnormalities exist with the body and the artist uses observation to analyze shapes and positions of structures, thus inspiring the artist to create.[14] It is this merging of arts and sciences that brings an appreciation of the study of cadavers to an important level.

Importance of cadavers in science

Cadavers are used in many different facets throughout the scientific community.  One important aspect of cadavers use for science is that they have provided science with a vast amount of information dealing with the anatomy of the human body. Cadavers allowed scientists to investigate the human body on a deeper level which resulted in identification of certain body parts and organs.  Two Greek scientists, Herophilus of Chalcedon and Erasistratus of Ceos were the first to use cadavers in the third century B.C..[17]  Through the dissection of cadavers, Herophilus made multiple discoveries concerning the anatomy of the human body, including the difference between the four ventricles within the brain, identification of seven pairs of cranial nerves, the difference between sensory and motor nerves, and the discovery of the cornea, retina and choroid coat within the eye.  Herophilus also discovered the valves within a human heart while Erasistratus identified their function by testing the irreversibility of the blood flow through the valves.  Erasistratus also discovered and distinguished between many details within the veins and arteries of the human body.  Herophilus later provides descriptions of the human liver, the pancreas, and the male and female reproductive systems due to the dissection of the human body. Cadavers allowed Herophilus to determine that the womb in which fetus’ grow and develop in is not bicameral. This goes against the original notion of the womb in which was thought to have two chambers; however, Herophilus discovered the womb to only have one chamber.  Herophilus also discovered the ovaries, the broad ligaments and the tubes within the female reproductive system.[17]  During this time period, cadavers were one of the only ways to develop an understanding of the anatomy of the human body.

Galen (130–201 AD) connected the famous works of Aristotle and other Greek physicians to his understanding of the human body.[18] Galenic anatomy and physiology were considered to be the most prominent methods to teach when dealing with the study of the human body during this time period.[19]  Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), known as the father of modern human anatomy, based his knowledge off of Galen's findings and his own dissection of human cadavers.[19][20]  Vesalius performed multiple dissections on cadavers for medical students to recognize and understand how the interior body parts of a human being worked.  Cadavers also helped Vesalius discredit previous notions of work published by the Greek physician Galen dealing with certain functions of the brain and human body.[21]  Vesalius concluded that Galen never did use cadavers in order to gain a proper understanding of human anatomy but instead used previous knowledge from his predecessors.[19]

Importance of cadavers in medical field

In present-day times, cadavers have become more and more popular within the medical and surgical community to gain further knowledge on human gross anatomy.[22]  Surgeons have dissected and examined cadavers before surgical procedures on living patients to identify any possible deviations within the surgical area of interest.[23]  New types of surgical procedures can lead to numerous obstacles involved within the procedure which can be eliminated through prior knowledge from the dissection of a cadaver.[24] 

Cadavers not only provide medical students and doctors knowledge about the different functions of the human body, but they also provide multiple causes of malfunction within the human body.  Galen (250 AD), a Greek physician, was one of the first to associate events that occurred during a human's life with the internal ramifications found later after death. A simple autopsy of a cadaver can help determine origins of deadly diseases or disorders.  Autopsies also can provide information on how certain drugs or procedures have been effective within the cadaver and how humans respond to certain injuries.[25]  

Appendectomies, the removal of the appendix, are performed 28,000 times a year in the United States and are still practiced on human cadavers and not with technology simulations.[26] Gross anatomy, a common course in medical school studying the visual structures of the body, gives students the opportunity to have a hands-on learning environment. The need for cadavers has also grown outside of academic programs for research. Organizations like Science Care and the Anatomy Gifts Registry help send bodies where they are needed most.[26]

Preserving cadavers for use in dissection

For a cadaver to be viable and ideal for anatomical study and dissection, the body must be refrigerated or the preservation process must begin within 24 hours of death.[27] This preservation may be accomplished by embalming using a mixture of embalming fluids, or with a relatively new method called plastination. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages in regards to preparing bodies for anatomical dissection in the educational setting.

Embalming with fluids

Unknown location. Embalming surgeon at work on soldier's body LOC cwpb.01887
Embalmer at work

The practice of embalming via chemical fluids has been used for centuries. The main objectives of this form of preservation are to keep the body from decomposing, help the tissues retain their color and softness, prevent both biological and environmental hazards, and preserve the anatomical structures in their natural forms.[28] This is accomplished with a variety of chemical substances that can be separated generally into groups by their purposes. Disinfectants are used to kill any potential microbes. Preservatives are used to halt the action of decomposing organisms, deprive these organisms of nutrition, and alter chemical structures in the body to prevent decomposition. Various modifying agents are used to maintain the moisture, pH, and osmotic properties of the tissues along with anticoagulants to keep blood from clotting within the cardiovascular system. Other chemicals may also be used to keep the tissue from carrying displeasing odors or particularly unnatural colors.[28]

Embalming practice has changed a great deal in the last few hundred years. Modern embalming for anatomical purposes no longer includes evisceration, as this disrupts the organs in ways that would be disadvantageous for the study of anatomy.[28] As with the mixtures of chemicals, embalmers practicing today can use different methods for introducing fluids into the cadaver. Fluid can be injected into the arterial system (typically through the carotid or femoral arteries), the main body cavities, under the skin, or the cadaver can be introduced to fluids at the outer surface of the skin via immersion.[29]

Different embalming services use different types and ratios of fluids, but typical embalming chemicals include formaldehyde, phenol, methanol, and glycerin.[30] These fluids are combined in varying ratios depending on the source, but are generally also mixed with large amounts of water.

Chemicals and their roles in embalming

Formaldehyde is very widely used in the process of embalming. It is a fixative, and kills bacteria, fungus, and insects. It prevents decay by keeping decomposing microorganisms from surviving on and in the cadaver. It also cures the tissues it is used in so that they can not serve as nutrients for these organisms. While formaldehyde is a good antiseptic, it has certain disadvantages as well. When used in embalming, it causes blood to clot and tissues to harden, it turns the skin gray, and its fumes are both malodorous and toxic if inhaled. However, its abilities to prevent decay and tan tissue without ruining its structural integrity have led to its continued widespread use to this day.[28]

Phenol is a disinfectant that functions as an antibacterial and antifungal agent. It prevents the growth of mold in its liquefied form. Its disinfectant qualities rely on its ability to denature proteins and dismantle cell walls, but this unfortunately has the added side effect of drying tissues and occasionally results in a degree of discoloration.[28]

Methanol is an additive with disinfectant properties. It helps regulate the osmotic balance of the embalming fluid, and it is a decent antirefrigerant. It has been noted to be acutely toxic to humans.[28]

Glycerin is a wetting agent that preserves liquid in the tissues of the cadaver. While it is not itself a true disinfectant, mixing it with formaldehyde greatly increases the effectiveness of formaldehyde's disinfectant properties.[28]

Advantages and disadvantages of using traditionally embalmed cadavers

The use of traditionally embalmed cadavers is and has been the standard for medical education. Many medical and dental institutions still show a preference for these today, even with the advent of more advanced technology like digital models or synthetic cadavers.[31] Cadavers embalmed with fluid do present a greater health risk to anatomists than these other methods as some of the chemicals used in the embalming process are toxic, and imperfectly embalmed cadavers may carry a risk of infection.[30]


Gunther von Hagens 2
Gunther von Hagens

Gunther von Hagens invented plastination at Heidelberg University in Heidelberg, Germany in 1977.[32] This method of cadaver preservation involves the replacement of fluid and soluble lipids in a body with plastics.[32] The resulting preserved bodies are called plastinates.

Whole-body plastination begins with much the same method as traditional embalming; a mixture of embalming fluids and water are pumped through the cadaver via arterial injection. After this step is complete, the anatomist may choose to dissect parts of the body to expose particular anatomical structures for study. After any desired dissection is completed, the cadaver is submerged in acetone. The acetone draws the moisture and soluble fats from the body and flows in to replace them. The cadaver is then placed in a bath of the plastic or resin of the practitioner's choice and the step known as forced impregnation begins. The bath generates a vacuum that causes acetone to vaporize, drawing the plastic or resin into the cells as it leaves. Once this is done the cadaver is positioned, the plastic inside it is cured, and the specimen is ready for use.[33]

Advantages and disadvantages of using plastinates

Plastinates are advantageous in the study of anatomy as they provide durable, non-toxic specimens that are easy to store. However, they still have not truly gained ground against the traditionally embalmed cadaver. Plastinated cadavers are not accessible for some institutions, some educators believe the experience gained during embalmed cadaver dissection is more valuable, and some simply do not have the resources to acquire or use plastinates.[31]

Body snatching

Railings used to protect graves from body snatchers Wellcome M0015588
Railings used to protect graves from body snatchers

While many cadavers were murderers provided by the state, few of these corpses were available for everyone to dissect. The first recorded body snatching was performed by four medical students who were arrested in 1319 for grave-robbing. In the 1700s most body snatchers were doctors, anatomy professors or their students. By 1828 some anatomists were paying others to perform the exhumation. People in this profession were commonly known in the medical community as "resurrection men". [34]

The London Borough Gang was a group of resurrection men that worked from 1802 to 1825. These men provided a number of schools with cadavers, and members of the schools would use influence to keep these men out of jail. Members of rival gangs would often report members of other gangs, or desecrate a graveyard in order to cause a public upset, making it so that rival gangs would not be able to operate. [34]

Selling murder victims

From 1827 to 1828 in Scotland, a number of people were murdered, and the bodies were sold to medical schools for research purposes, known as the West Port murders. Another example of this is H. H. Holmes, a noted serial killer in Chicago, Illinois, US, who sold the skeletons of some of his victims to medical schools.[35] The Anatomy Act of 1832 was created to ensure that relatives of the deceased submitted to the use of their kin in dissection and other scientific processes. Public response to the West Port murders was a factor in the passage of this bill, as well as the acts committed by the London Burkers.

Stories appeared of people murdering and selling the cadaver. Two of the well-known cases are that of Burke and Hare, and that of Bishop, May, and Williams.

Burke Murdering Margery Campbell
Burke Murdering Margery Campbell
  • Burke and Hare — Burke and Hare ran a boarding house. When one of their tenants died, they brought him to Robert Knox's anatomy classroom in Edinburgh, where they were paid seven pounds for the body. Realizing the possible profit, they murdered 16 people by asphyxiation over the next year and sold their bodies to Knox. They were eventually caught when a tenant returned to her bed only to encounter a corpse. Hare testified against Burke in exchange for amnesty and Burke was found guilty, hanged, and publicly dissected.[36]
  • London Burkers, Bishop, May and Williams — These body snatchers killed three boys, ages ten, 11 and 14 years old. The anatomist that they sold the cadavers to was suspicious. To delay their departure, the anatomist stated that he needed to break a 50-pound note and sent for the police who then arrested the men. In his confession Bishop claimed to have body-snatched 500 to 1000 bodies in his career.[37]

Making cars safer

Since the 1930s cadavers have been used to make motor vehicles safer.[38] Cadavers have helped set guidelines on the safety features of vehicles ranging from laminated windshields to seat belt airbags. The first recorded use of cadaver crash test dummies was performed by Lawrence Patrick, in the 1930s, after using his own body, and of his students, to test the limits of the human body. His first use of cadaver use was when he tossed a cadaver down an elevator shaft. He learned that the human skull can withstand up to one and a half tons for one second before experiencing any type of damage.[39]

In an article written by Albert King PhD, it was approximated that improvements made to cars since cadaver testing have prevented 143,000 injuries and 4250 deaths. Miniature accelerometers are place on the bone of the tested area of the cadaver. Damage is then inflicted on the Cadaver with different tools including; linear impactors, pendulums, or falling weights. The Cadaver may also be placed on an impact sled, simulating a crash. After these tests are completed, the Cadaver is examined with an x-ray, looking for any damage, and returned to the Anatomy Department.[40] Cadaver use contributed to Ford's inflatable rear seat belts introduced in the 2011 Explorer.[41]

Public view of cadaver crash test dummies

After a New York Times article published in 1993, the public became aware of the use of cadavers in crash testing. The article focused on a Heidelberg University's use of approximately 200 adult and children cadavers.[42] After public outcry, the university was ordered to prove that the families of the cadavers approved their use in testing.[43]

See also


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  36. ^ Rosner L (2011-07-07). The Anatomy Murders. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0812203554. Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh's Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes
  37. ^ Kelly T (1832). The history of the London Burkers. London: Wellcome Library. Containing a faithful and authentic account of the horrid acts of the noted Resurrectionists, Bishop, Williams, May, etc., etc., and their trial and condemnation at the Old Bailey for the wilful murder of Carlo Ferrari, with the criminals' confessions after trial. Including also the life, character, and behaviour of the atrocious Eliza Ross. The murderer of Mrs. Walsh, etc., etc
  38. ^ Fox M. "Samuel Alderson, Crash-Test Dummy Inventor, Dies at 90". Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  39. ^ "The Driving Dead: Human Cadavers Still Used In Car Crash Testing". Autoblog. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  40. ^ King AI, Viano DC, Mizeres N, States JD (April 1995). "Humanitarian benefits of cadaver research on injury prevention". The Journal of Trauma. 38 (4): 564–9. PMID 7723096.
  41. ^ "How Cadavers Made Your Car Safer". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  42. ^ "German University Said to Use Corpses in Auto Crash Tests". The Associated Press. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  43. ^ "German university must prove families ok'd tests on cadaver". 1993-11-24. Retrieved 2018-11-14.

Further reading

  • Jones DG (2000). Speaking for the Dead: Cadavers in Biology and Medicine. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-2073-0.
  • Roach M (2003). Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. New York, NY: W. W. Norton and Company Inc.
  • Shultz S (1992). Body Snatching: the Robbing of Graves for the Education of Physicians. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc.
  • Wright-St Clair RE (February 1961). "Murder For Anatomy". New Zealand Medical Journal. 60: 64–69.

External links

Anders Odden

Anders Odden (born 20 December 1972), is a Norwegian musician. He is the co-founder and guitarist of the Norwegian death metal band Cadaver (1988–1993; 1999–present), and is the bass player for Norwegian black metal band Satyricon (2009–present). He is founder and guitarist of the old school black metal band ORDER and the industrial rock band Magenta. He played live guitar for Celtic Frost (2006–2007) and has had several guest appearances with bands such as The Young Gods and Ministry, among others.

Beating heart cadaver

A beating heart cadaver is a body that is pronounced dead in all medical and legal definitions, connected to a medical ventilator, and retains cardio-pulmonary functions. This keeps the organs of the body, including the heart, functioning and alive. As a result, the period of time in which the organs may be used for transplantation is extended. The heart contains pacemaker cells that will cause the heart to continue beating even when a patient is brain-dead. Other organs in the body do not have this capability and need the brain to be functioning to send signals to the organs to carry out their functions. A beating heart cadaver requires a ventilator to provide oxygen to its blood, but the heart will continue to beat on its own even in the absence of brain activity. This allows organs to be preserved for a longer period of time in the case of a transplant or donation. A small number of cases in recent years indicate that it can also be implemented for a brain-dead pregnant woman to reach the full term of her pregnancy. There is an advantage to beating heart cadaver organ donation because doctors are able to see the vitals of the organs and tell if they are stable and functioning before transplanting to an ailing patient.

This is not possible in a donation from someone pronounced dead.

Body bag

A body bag, also known as a cadaver pouch or human remains pouch (HRP), is a non-porous bag designed to contain a human body, used for the storage and transportation of corpses. Body bags can also be used for the storage of corpses within morgues. Before purpose-made body bags were available, cotton mattress covers were sometimes used, particularly in combat zones during the Second World War. If not available, other materials were used such as bed sheets, blankets, shelter halves, ponchos, sleeping bag covers, tablecloths, curtains, parachute canopies, tarpaulins, or discarded canvas—“sealed in a blanket”—slang. However, the subsequent rubber (and now plastic) body bag designs are much superior, not least because they prevent leakage of body fluids, which often occurs after death. The dimensions of a body bag are generally around 36 inches by 90 inches (91 cm by 229 cm). Most have some form of carrying handles, usually webbing, at each corner and along the edges.

In modern warfare, body bags have been used to contain the bodies of dead soldiers. Disaster agencies typically have reserves of body bags, both for anticipated wars and natural disasters. During the Cold War, vast reserves of body bags were built up in anticipation of millions of fatalities from nuclear war. This was the subject of Adrian Mitchell's protest poem "Fifteen Million Plastic Bags".

Body bags are sometimes portrayed in films and television as being made of a heavy black plastic. Lightweight white body bags have since become popular because it is much easier to spot a piece of evidence that may have been jostled from the body in transit on a white background than on a black background. Even so, black body bags are still in general use. Other typical colors include orange, blue, or gray. Body bags used in the Vietnam War were heavy-duty black rubberized fabric. Regardless of their color, body bags are made of thick plastic and have a full-length zipper on them. Sometimes the zipper runs straight down the middle. Alternatively, the path of the zipper may be J-shaped or D-shaped. Depending on the design, there are sometimes handles (two on each side) to facilitate lifting. It is possible to write information on the plastic surface of a body bag using a marker pen, and this often happens—either in situ (particularly when a large number of bodies are being collected) or at the mortuary, before being stored in refrigerated cabinets. Alternatively, some designs of body bags have transparent label pockets as an integral part of the design, into which a name-card can be inserted. In any case, a conventional toe tag can easily be tied to one of the lifting handles if required. Body bags are not designed to be washed and re-used. Aside from the obvious hygiene concerns, re-use of body bags could easily contaminate evidence in the case of a suspicious death. As a result, body bags are routinely discarded and incinerated after one use. In Afghanistan US forces have used body bags to deliver ammunition, medical supplies, and rations to troops in the field. Fifty or so pounds of supplies are packed loose in a body bag and pulled out of the helicopter delivering them to be easily and rapidly dragged to cover by one or two soldiers.

Although body bags are most often used for the transport of human remains from their place of discovery to a funeral home or mortuary, they can also be used for temporary burials such as in a combat zone. In such situations, proper funerals are impossible because of imminent enemy attack. This was the situation during the Falklands War of 1982, during which British dead were placed in gray plastic body bags and then laid in mass graves. Some months after the conflict ended, all remains were exhumed from their temporary graves to receive a conventional funeral service with full military honors.

The term "body bag" is sometimes used for fashion or other bags worn on the body (sling body bag or across body bag) and this sense has no connection with either of the two above senses.

With the addition of provision for breathing, specially adapted body bags are also used for the BDSM practice of mummification.

Body farm

A body farm is a research facility where decomposition can be studied in a variety of settings. They were invented by anthropologist Dr. William Bass in 1987 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee where Dr. Bass was interested in studying the decomposition of a human corpse from the time of death to the time of decay. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the decomposition process, permitting the development of techniques for extracting information such as the timing and circumstances of death from human remains. Body farm research is of particular interest in forensic anthropology and related disciplines, and has applications in the fields of law enforcement and forensic science. By placing the bodies outside to face the elements, researchers are able to get a better understanding of the decomposition process.Seven such facilities exist in the United States, with the research facility operated by Texas State University at Freeman Ranch being the largest at 26 acres in area. A single body farm is also operational in Australia.

Cadaver (band)

Cadaver is a death metal band from Råde and Fredrikstad, Norway. The band had a brief venture in the early 1990s before splitting in 1993. Cadaver would eventually re-emerge as Cadaver Inc. in 1999 which consisted of only one founding member. For their final album, they fell back to using their original band name Cadaver and ended their activities in 2004, with their final live show in 2005. The band reformed in April 2019.

Cadaver Synod

The Cadaver Synod (also called the Cadaver Trial; Latin: Synodus Horrenda) is the name commonly given to the posthumous ecclesiastical trial of Pope Formosus, held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome during January 897. The trial was conducted by Pope Stephen VI (sometimes called Stephen VII), the successor to Formosus' successor, Pope Boniface VI. Stephen had Formosus' corpse exhumed and brought to the papal court for judgment. He accused Formosus of perjury and of having acceded to the papacy illegally. At the end of the trial, Formosus was pronounced guilty and his papacy retroactively declared null.

Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon

The Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon (French: Transi de René de Chalon, also known as the Memorial to the Heart of René de Chalon or The Skeleton) is a late Gothic period funerary monument, known as a transi, in the church of Saint-Étienne at Bar-le-Duc, in northeastern France. It consists of an altarpiece and a limestone statue of a putrefied and skinless corpse which stands upright and extends his left hand outwards. Completed sometime between 1544 and 1557, the majority of its construction is attributed to the French sculptor Ligier Richier. Other elements, including the coat of arms and funeral drapery, were added in the 16th and 18th centuries respectively.

The tomb dates from a period of societal anxiety over death, as plague, war and religious conflicts ravaged Europe. It was commissioned as the resting place of René of Chalon, Prince of Orange, son-in-law of Duke Antoine of Lorraine. René was killed aged 25 at the siege of St. Dizier on 15 July 1544, from a wound sustained the previous day. Richier presents him as an écorché, with his skin and muscles decayed, leaving him reduced to a skeleton. This apparently fulfilled his deathbed wish that his tomb depict his body as it would be three years after his death. His left arm is raised as if gesturing towards heaven. Supposedly, at one time his heart was held in a reliquary placed in the hand of the figure's raised arm. Unusually for contemporaneous objects of this type, his skeleton is standing, making it a "living corpse", an innovation that was to become highly influential. The tomb effigy is positioned above the carved marble and limestone altarpiece.

Designated a Monument historique on 18 June 1898, the tomb was moved for safekeeping to the Panthéon in Paris during the First World War, before being returned to Bar-le-Duc in 1920. Both the statue and altarpiece underwent extensive restoration between 1998 and 2003. Replicas of the statue are in the Musée Barrois in Bar-le-Duc and the Palais de Chaillot, Paris.

Carl-Michael Eide

Carl-Michael Eide (born 24 July 1974) is a Norwegian black metal musician, multi-instrumentalist (mainly known as a drummer), and vocalist. He is also known under stage names Aggressor, Czral and Exhurtum.

Demon Thief

Demon Thief is a book in Darren Shan's Demonata series. Though it is the second book in the series, it is a prequel to Lord Loss, the first book in the series. The protagonist is also different from that of the first book. The narrator here is a new character called Kernel Fleck, as opposed to Grubbs Grady, the protagonist of the first book. Demon Thief takes place about thirty years before Lord Loss so most of the characters from the first book did not appear, though a few did. It was also actually the sixth book of the Demonata to be written, although it was the second released.

Exquisite corpse

Exquisite corpse, also known as exquisite cadaver (from the original French term cadavre exquis), is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. "The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun." as in "The green duck sweetly sang the dreadful dirge.") or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed.

Ole Moe

Apollyon (born as Ole Jørgen Moe) is a black metal/thrash metal multi-instrumentalist, formerly associated with Dødheimsgard and Cadaver, now playing in Aura Noir and also Immortal after its reforming in 2006. He has done guest vocals on the Darkthrone albums Plaguewielder and Sardonic Wrath, and also on Audiopain's EP 1986 (2000). He was a live guitarist for Gorgoroth from 2003 to 2004, and performed at Gorgoroth's now infamous Kraków gig in February 2004. In 2004 Apollyon participated in a live tribute to Quorthon of Bathory at the Hole in the Sky festival in Bergen, Norway. Apollyon played bass on all songs, and also did the vocals on the song Equimanthorn. In addition to Apollyon, the line-up of this tribute band consisted of Bård Faust (ex-Emperor) on drums and Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Samoth (Emperor) on guitars, as well as guest vocalists Gaahl (Gorgoroth), Abbath (Immortal), Grutle Kjellson (Enslaved), Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone) and Satyr (Satyricon).

Police dog

A police dog, known in some English-speaking countries as a "K-9" or "K9" (a homophone of "canine"), is a dog that is specifically trained to assist police and other law-enforcement personnel. Their duties include: searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing people, finding crime scene evidence, and attacking people targeted by the police. Police dogs must remember several verbal cues and hand gestures. The most commonly used breeds are the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Bloodhound, Dutch Shepherd, and Retriever breeds. Recently, the Belgian Malinois has become the dog of choice for police and military work due to their intense drive and focus. Malinois are smaller and more agile than German Shepherds, and have fewer health issues. However, a well-bred working line German shepherd is just as reliable and robust as a Malinois.

In many countries, the intentional injuring or killing of a police dog is a criminal offence.

Polkadot Cadaver

Polkadot Cadaver is a band formed by members of the Rockville, Maryland rock band Dog Fashion Disco. The band is stylistically similar to Dog Fashion Disco and inherited many of their fans, who like Dog Fashion Disco, produce much of Polkadot Cadaver's artwork.


A prosection is the dissection of a cadaver (human or animal) or part of a cadaver by an experienced anatomist in order to demonstrate for students anatomic structure. In a dissection, students learn by doing; in a prosection, students learn by either observing a dissection being performed by an experienced anatomist or examining a specimen that has already been dissected by an experienced anatomist (etymology: Latin pro- "before" + sectio "a cutting")A prosection may also refer to the dissected cadaver or cadaver part which is then reassembled and provided to students for review.

Search and rescue dog

The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people. Dedicated handlers and well-trained dogs are required for the use of dogs to be effective in search efforts. Search and rescue dogs are typically worked, by a small team on foot.

Search and rescue dogs detect human scent. Although the exact processes are still researched, it may include skin rafts (scent-carrying skin cells that drop off living humans at a rate of about 40,000 cells per minute), evaporated perspiration, respiratory gases, or decomposition gases released by bacterial action on human skin or tissues.

The Possession of Hannah Grace

The Possession of Hannah Grace (also known in some countries as Cadaver) is a 2018 American supernatural horror film directed by Diederik van Rooijen and written by Brian Sieve. It stars Shay Mitchell, Kirby Johnson, Stana Katic, Grey Damon and Nick Thune, and follows a former policewoman who encounters the supernatural while working in a morgue.The film was released in the United States on November 30, 2018, by Screen Gems. It received generally negative reviews from critics and grossed $43 million worldwide.

Treehouse of Horror XXI

"Treehouse of Horror XXI" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-second season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 7, 2010. This is the 21st Treehouse of Horror episode, and, like the other "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, consisted of three self-contained segments: In "War and Pieces", Bart and Milhouse discover a real-life board game that they must win to return home; in "Master and Cadaver", Marge and Homer go on a honeymoon on a sailboat, and rescue a mysterious castaway named Roger; and in "Tweenlight", Lisa falls in love with a vampire named Edmund.

"Treehouse of Horror XXI" was written by Joel H. Cohen and directed by Bob Anderson. Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Laurie both guest starred in the episode. The first segment references Jumanji, the second is a loose parody of Dead Calm and the third satirizes the Twilight novel and film series. The episode also contains references to The Office, A Clockwork Orange and Sesame Street.

In its original airing on the Fox Network during the November sweeps period, the episode had a 3.7 Nielsen rating viewed in approximately 8.2 million homes. Critical opinion of the episode was mixed, with "Tweenlight" generally being regarded as the best of the three segments.

Tyrannosaurus Hives

Tyrannosaurus Hives is the third full-length album by The Hives, released on 20 July 2004. It is their first album since Veni Vidi Vicious from 2000, and also their first original release on a major label.

If the front cover of the album is removed from the case and lined up with the back, one can see that there is an extra pair of legs, hinting at Randy Fitzsimmons' existence. "Diabolic Scheme" was featured in the Swedish vampire movie Frostbiten, whereas "B is for Brutus" and "Uptight" were both featured in the racing video game Gran Turismo 4. The song "No Pun Intended" was featured in the racing video game MotorStorm: Pacific Rift.

As of 2007 the album has sold 178,000 copies in United States.

Visible Human Project

The Visible Human Project is an effort to create a detailed data set of cross-sectional photographs of the human body, in order to facilitate anatomy visualization applications. It is used as a tool for the progression of medical findings, in which these findings link anatomy to its audiences. A male and a female cadaver were cut into thin slices which were then photographed and digitized. The project is run by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) under the direction of Michael J. Ackerman. Planning began in 1986; the data set of the male was completed in November 1994 and the one of the female in November 1995. The project can be viewed today at the U.S. National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, MD. There are currently efforts to repeat this project with higher resolution images but only with parts of the body instead of a cadaver.

In medicine
After death

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