FICEM - Literature

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Something to read

Below, we have gathered some references relevant to the field of ethics in anatomy, sorted by themes. The list is "work in progress", please send suggestions or comments to Andreas Winkelmann. As the list is long, we have extracted ten publications, which we recommend for a start as our "favourites". We start with refering to two recent special issues with many relevant papers:

Special issues:


Journal Articles

Bolt S, Venbrux E, Eisinga R, Kuks Jbm, Veening J, Gerrits Po. Motivation for body donation to science: more than an altruistic act. Ann Anat, 2010; 192: 70-74.

Champney TH, Hildebrandt S, Jones DG, Winkelmann A: BODIES R US: Ethical Views on the Commercialization of the Dead in Medical Education and Research. Anat Sci Educ, 2019;12:317-325.

Champney T. A proposal for a policy on the ethical care and use of cadavers and their tissues. Anat Sci Educ, 2011; 4: 49-52.

Hildebrandt S. Capital punishment and anatomy: history and ethics of an ongoing association. Clin Anat, 2008;21(1):5-14.

Jones G.  Using and respecting the dead human body: An anatomist’s perspective.  Clin Anat, 2014; 27(6):839-843.

Kaufmann IM, Rühli FJ.  Without 'informed consent'?  Ethics and ancient mummy research. J Med Ethics, 2010; 36(10): 608-13.

Winkelmann A, Güldner FH. 2004. Cadavers as teachers: the dissecting room experience in Thailand. British Medical Journal. 329(7480):1455-7.


Fountain TK. 2014. Rhetoric in the flesh. Trained vision, technical expertise, and the gross lab. New York: Routledge

Jones, D.G., Whitaker, M.I. 2009. Speaking for the dead. The human body in biology and medicine. Farnham: Ashgate

Strkalj G. and Pather N. 2017. Commemorations and memorials: examining the human face of anatomy. 1st Ed. London: World Scientific.


Literature on ethics in anatomy

General / Overview


  • Andrews L, Nelkin D. Whose body is it anyway? Disputes over body tissue in a biotechnology age. Lancet. 1998;351(9095):53-7.
  • Barilan Y. Anatomy, Ethics of. In: Chadwick R, editor. Encyclopedia of applied ethics. 2 ed. Amsterdam: Academic Press, 2012. p. 116-26.
  • Barilan YM. The story of the body and the story of the person: Towards an ethics of representing human bodies and bodyparts. Med Health Care Philos 2005;8:193–205.
  • Cantor NL. After we die. The life and times of the human cadaver. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010.
  • Champney TH, A proposal for a policy on the ethical care and use of cadavers and their tissues, Anat Sci Educ, 2011;4:49-52.
  • Champney TH, Cadaver on the Cover, Letter to the Editor, Acad Med, 2010;85(3):390.
  • Charo RA, Body of research – Ownership and use of human tissue, N Engl J Med, 2006;355:1517-1519.
  • Elamrani MD, El Fakiri MM, Benhima MA, Choulli MK: L’éthique musulmane face à la dissection des cadavres humains pour l’enseignement et la recherche en anatomie. Éthique et Santé 2015; 12: 97-102.
  • Goodwin M (ed.).The global body market. Altruism’s limits. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Hallam E. Relational anatomy: Dissecting and memorializing the dead in medical education. Med Anthropol Theor 2017;4:99–124.
  • Jones DG, Whitaker MI. Speaking for the dead. The human body in biology and medicine. Farnham: Ashgate, 2009
  • Jones DG. Anatomy and ethics: an exploration of some ethical dimensions of contemporary anatomy. Clinical Anatomy 1998;11:100-105
  • Kanter SL, A Silent Mentor, Editorial, Acad Med, 2010;85(3):389.
  • Roach M. Stiff. The curious lives of human  cadavers. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2003.
  • Satyapal KS. Ethics, transplantation, and the changing role of anatomists. Clin Anat. 2005;18(2):150-3.
  • Štrkalj G: Humanistic Anatomy: A New Program for an Old Discipline; see
  • Sukol RB. Building on a tradition of ethical consideration of the dead. Human Pathology. 1995;26(7):700-5.
  • Wilkinson T. Last rights: the ethics of research on the dead. Journal of Applied Philosophy. 2002;19(1):31-41.
  • Wilkinson TM. Respect for the dead and the ethics of anatomy. Clinical Anatomy 27:286-290, 2014.
  • Winkelmann A. Die menschliche Leiche in der heutigen Anatomie. In: Graumann S; Grüber K (eds.): Grenzen des Lebens. Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2007, pp. 62-74.

Lessons from the Past

  • Hildebrandt S: The Anatomy of Murder – Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich. New York: Berghahn Books 2016; see
  • Hildebrandt S. Anatomie im Nationalsozialismus: Stufen einer ethischen Entgrenzung. Medizinhistorisches Journal 2013;48(2):153-185.
  • Hildebrandt S. Stages of Transgression: Anatomical Research in National Socialism. In: Rubenfeld S, Benedict S (eds), Human Subjects Research after the Holocaust, Springer, 2014, p68-85.
  • Hildebrandt S. Anatomy in the Third Reich: An Outline, Part 3. The Science and Ethics of Anatomy in National Socialist Germany and Postwar Consequences. Clin Anat 2009;22:906-915.
  • Hildebrandt, S. The women on Stieve’s list: victims of National Socialism whose bodies were used for anatomical research. Clin Anat 2013;26:3-21.
  • Lang HJ. August Hirt and “Extraordinary Opportunities for Cadaver Delivery” to Anatomical Institutes in National Socialism: A Murderous Change in Paradigm. Annals of Anatomy 2013;195:373-380.
  • Winkelmann A, Noack T, The Clara cell: a “Third Reich eponym”? Eur Resp J 2010;36:722-727.
  • Winkelmann A, Schagen U. Hermann Stieve's clinical-anatomical research on executed women during the "Third Reich". Clin Anat. 2009;22(2):163-71.

Body Donation

Experiences / Overviews

  • Biasutto SN, Sharma N, Weiglein AH, Benia FM, McBride J, Bueno-López JL, Kramer B, Blyth P, Barros MD, Ashiru O, Ballesteros LE, Moxham BJ, Krishnan S. Human bodies to teach anatomy: Importance and procurement - experience with cadaver donation. Revista Argentina de Anatomía Clínica. 2014;6(2):72-86.
  • Riederer BM, Bolt S, Brenner E, Bueno-López JL, Circulescu A, Davies D, De Caro R, Gerrits P, McHanwell S, Pais D, Paulsen F, Plaisant O, Sendemir E, Stabile I, Moxham BJ. The legal and ethical framework governing Body Donation in Europe  – 1st update on current practice. European Journal of Anatomy. 2012;16(1):1-21.
  • Riederer BM, Bueno-López JL. Anatomy, respect for the body and body donation - a guide for good practice. European Journal of Anatomy. 2014;18(4):361-8.
  • Schmitt, B, C Wacker, L Ikemoto, FJ Meyers and C Pomeroy, 2014, A transparent oversight policy for human anatomical specimen management: The University of California, Davis experience, Acad Med, 89:410-414.

Experiences / Local Practices / Case Studies

  • Atlas MC. Ethics and access to teaching materials in the medical library: the case of the Pernkopf atlas. Bull Med Libr Assoc 2001;89(1):51-58.
  • Christensen AM. Moral considerations in body donation for scientific research: a unique look at the University of Tennessee's anthropological research faculty. Bioethics. 2006;20(3):136-45.
  • Fennell S, Jones DG. The bequest of human bodies for dissection: a case study on the Otago medical school. New Zealand Medical Journal. 1992;105:472-4. 1436875
  • Jones DG, Nie J-B: Does Confucianism allow for body donation? Anatomical Sciences Education 2018;11: 525-531. DOI 10.1002/ase.1771
  • Jones DG.1991. Bequests, cadavers and dissections: sketches from New Zealand history. NZ Med J 104:210-212.
  • Lin SC, Hsu J, Fan VY. "Silent virtuous teachers": anatomical dissection in Taiwan. British Medical Journal. 2009;339:b5001.
  • Olejaz M. 2017. When the dead teach: Exploring the postvital life of cadavers in Danish dissection labs. Med Anthropol Theor 2017;4:125–149.
  • Osuagwu FC; Imosemi IO; Oladejo EW. Sources of cadaver used for dissection at the Idaban medical school, Nigeria- Analysis of three-year data. African Journal of Biomedical Research 2004;7:93-95
  • Schiefer AY: Robbing the Grave: Amending the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act to Curtail Abuses Within the Whole-Body Donation Industry, Health Matrix 2019;29(1): 371, available at:
  • Subasinghe SK, Jones DG. Human Body Donation Programs in Sri Lanka: Buddhist Perspectives. Anat Sci Educ 2015
  • Winkelmann A, Güldner FH. Cadavers as teachers: the dissecting room experience in Thailand. British Medical Journal. 2004;329(7480):1455-7.
  • Zhang, Luqing; Xiao, Ming; Gu, Mufeng; Zhang, Yongjie; Jin, Jianliang; Ding, Jiong. 2014. An overview of the roles and responsibilities of Chinese medical colleges in body donation programs. Anatomical Sciences Education 7:312-320.

Specific Sources of Bodies

  • Hildebrandt S. Capital punishment and anatomy: history and ethics of an ongoing association. Clin Anat. 2008;21(1):5-14.
  • Hildebrandt S. 2013. The case of Robert Herrlinger: A unique postwar controversy on the ethics of the anatomical use of bodies of the executed during National Socialism. Ann Anat 195:11-24.
  • Jones DG, Whitaker MI. Anatomy's use of unclaimed bodies: reasons against continued dependence on an ethically dubious practice. Clin Anat. 2012;25(2):246-54. 21800367.


  • Asad AL, Anteby M, Garip F. Who donates their bodies to science? The combined role of gender and migration status among California whole-body donors. Soc Sci Med. 2014;106:53-8.
  • Bohl M, Holman A, Mueller DA, Gruppen LD, Hildebrandt S. 2013. The Willed Body Donor Interview Project: Medical student and donor expectations. Anatomical Sciences Education 6(2):90-100
  • Bolt S, Venbrux E, Eisinga R, Kuks Jbm, Veening J, Gerrits Po. 2010. Motivation for body donation to science: more than an altruistic act. Ann Anat, 192: 70-74.
  • Bolt S, Eisinga R, Venbrux E, Kuks, JBM, Gerrits PO. 2011. Personality and motivation for body donation. Ann Anat193:112-117.
  • Richardson R, Hurwitz B. Donors' Attitudes towards Body Donation for Dissection. Lancet. 1995;346:277-9.
  • Talarico EF. 2013. A change in paradigm: giving identity to donors in the anatomy laboratory. Clinical Anatomy 26:161-172.


  • Anteby M. Markets, Morals, and Practices of Trade: Jurisdictional Disputes in the U.S. Commerce in Cadavers. Adm Sci Q. 2010;55:606–38.
  • Anteby M, Hyman M. Entrepreneurial ventures and whole-body donations: a regional perspective from the United States. Soc Sci Med. 2008;66(4):963-9.
  • Nie J-B, Jones DG: Confucian ethics on the commercial use of human bodies and body parts: Yi (Righteousness) or/and Li (Profit)? Anatomical Sciences Education 2019;12: 444-453. DOI: 10.1002/ase.1876.

History of Body Donation / Procurement

  • Garment A, Lederer S, Rogers N, Boult L. Let the dead teach the living: the rise of body bequeathal in 20th-century America. Acad Med. 2007;82(10):1000-5.
  • Halperin, E.C. The poor, the Black, and the marginalized as the source of cadavers in the United States anatomical education. Clinical Anatomy 2007;20:489–495.
  • Hulkower R. From sacrilege to privilege: The tale of body procurement for anatomical dissection. Einstein J Biol Med. 2011:23-6.
  • Humphrey DC. Dissection and discrimination: The social origins of cadavers in America, 1760-1915. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. 1973;49(9):819-27.
  • Leblond S. Anatomistes et resurrectionnistes en France. Can Med Assoc J. 1968;99(8):368-70.
  • Richardson R. Death, dissection and the destitute. Second edition with a new afterword. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.
  • Sappol M. A traffic in dead bodies: anatomy and embodied social identity in nineteenth century America. Princeton, Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002.
  • Stukenbrock K. Der zerstueckte Coerper: Zur Sozialgeschichte der anatomischen Sektionen in der fruehen Neuzeit (1650-1800). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2001.

Research on Cadaveric Specimens

  • King AI, Viano DC, Mizeres N, States JD. Humanitarian benefits of cadaver research on injury prevention. J Trauma. 1995;38(4):564-9.
  • Winkelmann, A., 2017. Guidelines for reporting original anatomical studies-Quality and ethics (Letter). Clin. Anat. 10.1002/ca.22833

Anatomy Teaching and Learning

  • Benninger B, Matsler N, Delamarter T. Classic versus millennial medical lab anatomy. Clin Anat 2014;27:988-993.
  • Berman AC. Anatomy of curriculum: digging to the core. Anat Sci Educ 2014;7:326-328.
  • Bernhardt V, Rothkötter HJ, Kasten E. Psychological stress in first year medical students in response to the dissection of a human corpse. GMS Zeitschr Med Ausb 2012;29(1):10-17.
  • Bertman S. One breath apart: facing dissection. Republished 2009. Amityville: Baywood Publishing, 2007.
  • Bertman SL, Marks SC. Humanities in medical education: Rationale and resources for the dissection laboratory. Medical Education. 1985;19:374-81.
  • Böckers A, Baader C, Fassnacht UK, Ochsner W, Böckers TM. Reduction in mental distress in the dissection course by introducing the body donor experience through demonstrations of organs systems. Anat Sci Educ 2012;5(6):321-329.
  • Böckers A, Brinkmann A, Jerg-Bretzke L, Lamp C, Traue HC, Böckers TM. How can we deal with mental distress in the dissection room?- an evaluation of the need for psychological support. Ann Anat 2010;192(6):366-372.
  • Böckers A, Jerg-Bretzke L, Lamp C, Brinkmann A, Traue HC, Böckers TM. The gross anatomy course: An analysis of its importance. Anat Sci Educ 2010;3:3–11.
  • Bohl M, Bosch P, Hildebrandt S. Medical students' perceptions of the body donor as a "first patient" or "teacher": a pilot study. Anatomical Sciences Education. 2011;4(4):208-13.
  • Bourguet CC, Whittier WL, Taslitz N. Survey of the educational roles of the faculty of anatomy departments. Clin Anat 2006;10:264-271
  • Brenner E, Pais D. The philosophy and ethics of anatomy teaching. European Journal of Anatomy. 2014;18(4):353-60.
  • Cornwall J, Winkelmann A, Hildebrandt S: Cadaver Exome Sequencing for Teaching First-Year Medical Students (Letter). JAMA 316 (1): 102-103, 2016, see
  • Crow SM, O’Donoghue D, Vannatta JB, Thompson BM. 2012. Meeting the family: promoting humanism in gross anatomy. Teach Learn Med 24(1):49-54.
  • Dyer GS, Thorndike ME: Quidne mortui vivos docent? The evolving purpose of human dissection. Acad Med 2000;75:969-979.
  • Fountain TK. Rhetoric in the flesh. Trained vision, technical expertise, and the gross lab. New York: Routledge, 2014.
  • Francis NR, Lewis W. What price dissection? Dissection literally dissected. Journal of Medical Ethics: Medical Humanities. 2001;27:2-9.
  • Gelfand, T. 1972. The “Paris manner” of dissection: student anatomical dissection in early eighteenth-century Paris. Bull Hist Med 46(2):99-130.
  • Gregory SR, Cole TR.The changing role of dissection in medical education. JAMA 2002;287(9):1180-1181.
  • Grochowski CO, Cartmill M, Reiter J, Spaulding J, Haviland J, Valea F, Thibodeau PL, McCorison S, Halperin EC. Anxiety in first year medical students taking gross anatomy. Clin Anat 2014;27(6):835-838.
  • Hafferty FW. Into the valley of death. Death and the socialization of medical students. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.
  • Hammer RR, Jones TW, Hussain FTN, Bringe K, Harvey RE, Person-Rennell NH, Newman JS. Students as ressurectionists- a multimodal humanities project in anatomy putting ethics and professionalism in historical context. Anat Sci Educ 2010;3:244-248.
  • Hildebrandt S. What is happening in our anatomical dissection rooms? Clin Anat. 2014;27(6):833-4.
  • Houwink AP, Kurup AN, Kollars JP, Kral Kollars CA, Carmichael SW, Pawlina W. Help of third-year medical students decreases first-year medical students’ negative psychological reactions on the first day of gross anatomy dissection. Clin Anat 2004;17(4):328-333.
  • Jones DG: Three-dimensional printing in anatomy education – assessing potential ethical dimensions, Anatomical Sciences Education 2019;12: 435-443. DOI 10.1002/ase.1851.
  • Jones TW, Lachman N, Pawlina W. Honoring our donors: a survey of memorial ceremonies in United States anatomy programs. Anat Sci Educ 2013;7:219-223.
  • Limbrecht K, Brinkmann A, Lamp C, Böckers T, Traue HC, Jerg-Bretzke L.. Mortui vivos docent?—experienced burdens of medical students in the gross anatomy course. Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol 2013;63(8):327-333.
  • Montross C. Body of work. Meditations on mortality from the human anatomy lab. New York: Penguin Press, 2007.
  • Pabst VC, Pabst R. Danken und Gedenken am Ende des Präparierkurses. Deutsches Ärzteblatt 2006;103(45): A3008-3010.
  • Rizzolo LJ. Human dissection: an approach to interweaving the traditional and humanistic goals of medical education. Anat Rec 2002;269:242-248.
  • Strkalj G. and Pather N. 2017. Commemorations and memorials: examining the human face of anatomy. 1st Ed. London: World Scientific.

Exhibition of Specimens / Body Worlds

  • Barilan YM. Bodyworlds and the ethics of using human remains: A preliminary discussion. Bioethics 2006;20:233–247.
  • Jespersen TC, Rodriguez A, Starr J. The anatomy of body worlds. Critical essays on the plastinated cadavers of Gunther von Hagens. Jefferson: McFarland and Company, 2009.
  • Jones DG, Whitaker MI. Engaging with plastination and the Body Worlds phenomenon: a cultural and intellectual challenge for anatomists. Clin Anat. 2009;22(6):770-6.
  • Jones DG. Re-inventing Anatomy: The Impact of Plastination on How We See the Human Body. Clin Anat 2002;15:436-440.
  • King, Mike R.; Whitaker, Maja I.; Jones, D. Gareth. I see dead people: insights from the humanities into the nature of plastinated cadavers. Journal of Medical Humanities 2014;35:361-376.
  • Lantos JD. Controversial bodies: thoughts on the public display of plastinated corpses. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.
  • Moore CM, Brown CM. Experiencing body world: voyeurism, education, or enlightenment? J Med Humanit 2007;28(4):231-254.
  • Moore CM, Brown CM. Gunther von Hagens and Body Worlds Part 1: the anatomist as prosecutor and proplastiker. Anat Rec B New Anat 2004;276(1):8-14.
  • Moore CM, Brown CM. Gunther von Hagens and Body Worlds Part 2: the anatomist as priest and prophet. Anat Rec B New Anat 2004;276(1):14-20.
  • Peuker T, Schulz C. Der über Leichen geht. Ch.Links Verlag, 2004
  • Walter T. Body Worlds: clinical detachment and anatomical awe. Sociology of Health & Illness. 2004;26:464-88.
  • Wetz FJ. Tote sind nur ein Problem für Lebende. Menschenwürde und Plastination. Ann Anat. 2000;182:385-91.
  • Wetz FJ, Tag B. Schöne neue Koerperwelten: der Streit um die Ausstellung. Klett-Cotta, 2001

Human Remains / Physical Anthropology

  • Blakely R, Harrington JM. (eds.) Bones in the Basement: Postmortem Racism in Nineteenth-Century Medical Training. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997.
  • Kaufmann IM, Rühli FJ. Without 'informed consent'? Ethics and ancient mummy research. J Med Ethics. 2010;36(10):608-13.
  • MacDonald H. Human remains: dissection and its histories. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006.
  • Satyapal KS. The treatment of human remains. South African Journal of Bioethics and Law. 2012;5(1):55-60.
  • Schmitt B, Wacker C, Ikemoto L, Meyers F. A transparent oversight policy for human anatomical specimen management: the University of California, Davis experience. Journal of Anatomy 2014;89:410-414.

Forensic Autopsies


International Federation of Associations of Anatomists

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