Vesalius was born in 1514 and studied anatomy in Louvain and Paris. Although dissections were allowed, he was now allowed to boil up bodies to get a look at a skeleton. He stole the body of a criminal on a gibbet and put it in his study. Following an argument over bleeding techniques with the professor of surgery at Louvain, he became professor of surgery and anatomy at Padua.

He did his own dissections rather than employing a menial lackey, as most "professors" did. He released his first work on anatomy, entitled Tablulae Sex in 1538 and his most important work, The Fabric of the Human Body, in 1543. The latter included fully-annotated pictures of all parts of the human body. He oversaw all stages of its production so it came out exactly as he wanted it. He pointed out several of Galen's mistakes, something which at the time was quite a bold thing to do, as the Church had accepted Galen's writings as almost religious doctrine.

The release of these worked spelled the end for one of the four problems of surgery. Never again would lack of anatomical knowledge blight the operating theatre.

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