Anatomy vs Physiology
Anatomy and physiology are always interconnected when studying a living organism. Living organisms can be distinguished from non-living organisms, since they reproduce, and have metabolism and development. The study of anatomy is important to understand structures of those organs, and physiology is important for the study of how those structures are functioning to keep the organism alive. Anatomy and physiology can be studied separately, but to understand the whole system of living bodies they should be interconnected and studied as a whole.
The study of the structure of living organs is called anatomy. It studies various organs. The word anatomy is derived from two Greek words ana and temnein. Ana gives the meaning of separation and temnein means “to cut”. Although it comprises the study of internal organs, it considers the cell, which is the basic unit of all living organisms.
Cells make tissues. So, to study the anatomy, detailed study of tissues is needed. This is called histology. Anatomy studies have three branches: human anatomy, plant anatomy and animal anatomy. With the discovery of Transmission Electron Microscope and the Scanning Electron Microscope, study of anatomy is further developed (Pandey, 2001).
Human anatomy considers the structures of the human body. There are two ways of studying anatomy; i.e. systematic anatomy and regional anatomy. In sectional anatomy, organs are separately considered, and in regional anatomy, organs are studied relatively. In plants, by cutting sections plant’s organs such as roots, stems, leaves, flowers, are studied.
The aim of physiology is to study and understand how living organisms live and keep them alive. The study of physiology involves the understanding of the working process of living organisms. Physiology comprise four aspects; i.e. metabolism, development, reproduction, and irritability (Stiles and Cocking, 1969). These four aspects are related to one another.
For better understanding of the physiology of a particular organism, the knowledge of the morphology of the organism, and the structure of the organism should be acquired. However, the knowledge of structure of an organism is not sufficient for the study of physiology. The biochemical and biophysical information of the living organism will make it broader.
There are different branches of physiology; i.e. cell physiology, pathology, systemic physiology, and special organ physiology.
What is the difference between Anatomy and Physiology?
- The study of structure of living organs is called anatomy while physiology is the study of understanding how living organisms live and keep them alive.
- Anatomy considers the structures of tissue and the cell, which is the basic unit of a living organism, whereas physiology considers the function of the living organism and the cell as the basic structure of the living organisms.
- Anatomy considers the organs of body of an organism. For an example: in a plant, it considers root, stem, leaves, and flowers. But, physiology studies the metabolism, development, reproduction and irritability.
- The anatomy is considered as static study, whereas physiology is more dynamic study, which contains chemical, physical, electrical process.
- Always physiology deals with the living tissues or living cells while anatomy may not consider the live samples. Some times cutting sections for the anatomy may destroy the living tissue.
Pandey, B.P. (2001) An Introduction to Plant Anatomy. S. Chand and company, India.
Stiles W., Cocking E.C., (1969). An Introduction to the Principles of Plant Physiology, Methuen, London.