Anatomical names

Anatomy should really have an IUPAC system.

Advantages:

– No more confusion between the coracoid process of the scapula, the coranoid process of the ulna, and the second (!) coranoid process in the mandible.  I don’t know what we’d end up calling them (“lateral pointy bit” of the scapula doesn’t have quite the same ring), but it sure as heck wouldn’t be the same essential name in 3 different places.

– Some names could stay (coracobrachialis, musculocutaneous n., iliocostalis) if they actually describe something useful, like origin and insertion.

– Eponyms would go right the hell away, just as they rightfully should.  I mean, clearly, “The long thoracic nerve” is a fantastic name, “Bell’s nerve” is… not.

Disadvantages

– I think at some point we might just have to start numbering things, like arterial branches, and it’s not like that made the cranial nerves any easier – you still need at least two mnemonics and a few spare weeks to push their innervations into long-term memory.  But some genius could probably figure out a clever way around this.

– Surgeons and anatomists, having dedicated their careers to becoming masters of anatomy, would be somewhat against the idea of relearning everything – and since they have scalpels, I believe their opinions count more.

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