Andreas Vesalius – Anatomist

Biography of Andreas Vesalius

Early Life

Andreas Vesalius was a Belgian anatomist, who was born in Brussels, Belgium on 31 December, 1514. He was born in such a family who was full of anatomist and physiologists. After his early education, he pursued his further study in the field of medicine from University of Paris and University of Louvain. He earned his specialization degree in medicine from Padua University in the year 1537. These studies of medicine led him and build his interest in the field of anatomy which is said as the study of the internal structure of organisms.


In that era, when Andreas Vesalius started to study anatomy, work of a Greek anatomist named as Galen was considered as an authority in this field. He studied the work of Galen who stated the different ways of dissection of organs of different organisms. After this study, he started to believe that he needs to analyze the real corpses to study human body in details. He started to build his own ways of dissection of organs of human beings but it was banned strictly by catholic churches at that time. After further research, soon he came to know that Galen has just worked for dissection of organs of animals, not of humans.


After conducting some experiments, he stated that males and females have same number of ribs with same kinds of functions. Although, it was believed that men have one rib less than women because of theory of Eve and Adam which states that Eve was brought out from the rib of Adam. Andreas Vesalius proved this theory wrong and said that both men and women have same number of ribs.


Andreas Vesalius was the first person, who formally wrote books about anatomy of organisms. Moving mountain in this case, he published his first publication in 1543, with a title of the structure of the human body. He illustrated almost 200 different anatomies and in this way that was the first detailed anatomical publication. In his other publications, he proved many theories of Galen as wrong e.g. Greek’s belief about blood has ability to flow between veins and heart. In addition, the mandible is made up of more than one bone. He proved this theory as wrong also.


Andreas Vesalius was a very influential and prolific scientist who made numerous additions to the anatomy. He worked specially for the anatomy of humans which was neglected before and proved many Greek theories wrong. In 1564, he was blamed of a murder of a person who was a Spanish noble. Once returning from a travel through ship, he faced a serious storm which injured him seriously. He was rescued and was taken off from sea but he died of injuries on 15 October, 1564 in Greece.