Vilray Papin Blair

Laboratory Guide

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Vilray Papin Blair
   - Laboratory Guide

Excerpt from Laboratory Guide: For the Modeling of the Human Bones in Clay

The object of this guide is primarily to lay down specific directions for the moulding of the human bones in clay. Observation of this work in other colleges and three years' experience here have demonstrated that this method of teaching human osteology is not only practical, but advantageous. Though names are necessary, what the student of medicine most wants is not so much the power to describe the bones, but to have a lasting impression of the outline. This is best obtained by close observation, and reproducing them in clay fosters such observation. The general directions for their reproduction should be carefully studied, for these will not be repeated in the consideration of the individual bones.

It is intended to make this a practical course for the medical student rather than a complete course in osteology. Parts will be emphasized or hurried over according to their bearing on this aspect of the subject.

Those bones which practically form solid masses, such as the bones of the skull, the anterior part of the tarsus and the two rows of the carpus, will be treated as parts of such a mass, and the mass rather than the individual bones will be described. For the skull a very simple special description is given from this view point.

Following the instructions for the reproduction of each bone will be found a few questions referring to its form. These, and other questions which must present themselves to the student, should be studied and answered by referring to the bone and the text books. These answers should not just be committed to memory, but the student should work out the problems for himself in an intelligent manner. By doing this he will change osteology from the bug-bear it is usually reputed, with the memorization of a mass of disassociated points, lines and surfaces to the intelligent consideration of all of these as integral parts of the whole, with the ability to read in each its cause, reason and effect. In this way the retention of these facts is made more a matter of reason than memory.

Before the reproduction of any bone is undertaken, it should be carefully studied with the text book and bone.

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