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This exhibition explores the history of comparative anatomy and how integral it was to the beginnings of Surgeons' Hall Museums.

The anatomy of other animals has long fascinated scientists. From ancient times, anatomists have dissected animals to explore the structure and function of the body. Comparing the similarities and differences between the internal anatomy of humans and other animals has proved a fertile area of study in helping us understand the anatomy and interconnectedness of all living things.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, comparative anatomy was seen as a central part of medical education and training. When Surgeons' Hall opened in 1832, an entire room within the museum was devoted to a large collection of zoological skeletons and specimens, donated by well-known Scottish Comparative Anatomist John Barclay.

Natural historyEdinburgh

Surgeons' Hall Museums

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Nicolson Street, EDINBURGH, Midlothian, EH8 9DW

0131 527 1711


Opening times

Daily, 10am –​ 5pm

Some seasonal opening hours may apply. Please check website for details.

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