The Museum of Veterinary Anatomy (MAV) is the organ of integration of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Sao Paulo. The MAV’s mission is to develop research, education and extension services to the community in the areas of animal morphology and anatomy. It was opened to the public in 1984 and its current exhibition presents specimens prepared, studied and preserved by FMVZ teachers, students and specialists over the years.

mav decada 1990

A brief history ofveterinaryanatomy

In the ancient period stood the work of a physician named Galen who worked at Pergamon, then in Rome, and used animals as models for understanding human anatomy. Galen added the Greek philosophy to his dissections studies and created a system that explains the structure and functioning of the human body. He died in 203 AD and, after the fall of Rome, his work was translated, interpreted and commented by the Arab people, who brought his work to the attention of Europeans in the 12th century. The Europeans used Galen annotations to medicine teaching and practice until the 16th century. However, some of the spirit of the Galen work, which encouraged observation and research, was lost during translation. The reading of his notes without further research work had little contribution to the anatomical knowledge of that period. That changed when a young anatomist, Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), working at the University of Padua, when he began to dissect human parts for his students and to draw new anatomical schemes and plates that corrected many of Galen notes. 

These corrections, and also after dissecting several animals, brought Vesalius to realize that Galen did not actually work with human parts. Galen examined their patients during surgery, but only had dissected bovines and monkeys. Thus, for four years Vesalius worked making several dissections, and aided by renowned painters of the school of Titian, wrote his book "De humani corporis fabrica libri septem" ("On the fabric of the human body"), also known as "Fabrica", finally finished in 1543. This book began the tradition of anatomy researchers in Europe. Moreover, the discovery of similarities and differences between the species began to situate the human species as one among others and originated the branch of comparative anatomy.



Meanwhile in veterinary practice much attention was given to horses, a tradition started by the Greeks and Romans. The medicine of the horse is considered as the starting point of veterinary medicine. Works like "Veterinariae medicinae", a latin translation of fragments of "Hippiatrica" from Greek and Roman authors made by the French court physician Jean Ruel and published in 1530. "Anatomy del cavallo, infermitá et Suoi rimedii", from Carlo Ruini, published in 1598, may be hightlighted among the main books of that period. In the 18th Century, cattle epidemics in France promoted the creation of the first Western school of veterinary medicine (current École Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon), founded in Lyon in 1761. At the end of the 20th century, 20 schools had been established in 12 European countries. Later on, the tradition of these centers also came to the colonies in the Americas and Africa.

In England the foundation of the first veterinary school (now The Royal Veterinary College) in 1791 was driven by the horse Eclipse. Eclipse, so named for being born in the solar eclipse of April 1, 1764, won races in 1769 and 1770 and was removed from the races for being unbeatable. He died in 1789 aged 25 years old, leaving questions about his success that prompted the British to establish a veterinary school. In Brazil, despite the incentives of Dom Pedro II around 1875, the first veterinary schools were established by decree only in 1910: the Army School of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, both in the city of Rio de Janeiro.