1514 - 1564
Vesalius is often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy.
He was a Flemish-born anatomist whose dissections of the human body helped to correct misconceptions dating from ancient times.
Vesalius believed that surgery had to be grounded in anatomy. He always performed dissections himself. This was in marked contrast to Galen, the standard authority on anatomy who, for religious reasons, had been restricted to animals, mainly apes. Vesalius realised that Galen's and his own observations differed, and that humans do not share the same anatomy as apes.
In 1543, Vesalius published 'De Humani Corporis Fabrica'., one of the most influential books on human anatomy. The book was based largely on human dissection, and transformed anatomy into a subject that relied on observations taken directly from human dissections.
Vesalius then took up medical practice. Maintaining the tradition of imperial service, he became physician to the imperial court of Emperor Charles V and in 1555 took service with Charles' son, Philip II of Spain.
In 1564, he left for a trip to the Holy Land but died on 15 October 1564 on the Greek island of Zakynthos during the journey home
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