For over 450 years, students have been studying anatomy at Cambridge through whole body dissection. But students find that they learn far more than just the architecture of the human body during their classes.

“I feel like I’m in a bit of a daze at the moment as to what just happened,” says Giri Nandakumar. “I have never seen a dead body before. The complexion, the expression of the face, the position they’re in, this was all quite new to me.”

Nandakumar is a first year medical student at Cambridge. He has been at the University less than a week, and has barely had time to unpack his belongings and settle in before entering the dissection room and taking his first steps towards a career in medicine. While students in other disciplines are poring over textbooks or listening keenly to a lecture, he has come face-to-face with a tutor of a very different kind: a donated, dead body.

To read more and to find out about the history of anatomy teaching at Cambridge, please see your feature Body of work: the silent teacher helping students learn anatomy.

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