DIY Organ Removal, Pain, and Bloody Miracles: The Grisly World of First Surgeries

The Wound Man (or Man of Wounds, depending on how you translate Fasciculus medicinae, the 1491 medical treatise in which his image first appears) is one of the most well-known medieval surgical diagrams going. It’s up there with da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (né 1490) but is far less aesthetically pleasing than what everyone’s favourite Renaissance Man had cooked up. Rather, the Wound Man—his poor mangled body decorated with bites and pustules, smashed by rocks, and pierced with various deadly implements—wears a look of serene resignation that belies the myriad violent indignities that have been visited upon him. Read More >>

Real-Life ‘Zombie’ Animals Walk The Earth Thanks to Thousands of Parasites

Consider the ladybug. Our polka-dotted little friend spends its days munching aphids, climbing leaves, occasionally alighting upon a delighted child’s outstretched finger, and generally beetling around being adorable. It’s one of nature’s most inoffensive critters, which is perhaps why the Dinocampus coccinellae wasp is such a troubling one by comparison. See, in order to lay her egg, the mama Dinocampus must attack a ladybug with her stinger, and deposit an egg—and a virus—into her precious little abdomen. As the baby wasp grows, it sustains itself by eating the ladybug’s insides, until the virus—which has infected the host’s entire body—hits the brain and shuts down the central nervous system. This conveniently paralyses the ladybug while the larva erupts from her abdomen and spins itself into a cocoon. Read More >>

The Complex Legacy of World War I’s Women Scientists

During World War I, far away from the lines of battle, the UK was faced with a different crisis. As thousands of khaki-clad “Tommies” shipped off to the front, the British economy teetered on the cusp of grinding to a halt. With the men gone, the task of keeping the country’s lights on fell to women. British women flooded into munitions factories, hospitals, universities, and laboratories. Read More >>

This Book Is All About Death, Murder, Mourning, and ‘an Anatomical Christ’

“On an average day, visitors might encounter Dr. Couney’s Infant Incubators, where premature babies were kept alive by novel technology that had yet to be adopted by hospitals,” writes Joanna Ebenstein of the medical miracles once tucked away inside New York City’s most famous amusement park in her new book, Death: A Graveside Companion. “Although it is best remembered today for hot dogs and roller coasters, both of which originated there, Coney Island at the time of Freud and Jung’s [1909] visit was a far more surprising place.” Read More >>