Difference Between Anatomy vs Physiology
A lot of times, one word is thought to be the same as the other, when in reality, they are not. They may have bits of similarities, but when it comes to their basic definitions, their differences become quite obvious. Take anatomy vs physiology for instance. They are similar and are used interchangeably because they are similar. They are often used when describing the parts of a biological component like the human body.
To show how these two words differ from one another, we will take you through their definitions, the similarities, and the differences between the two.
Definition of Anatomy
Anatomy is defined as the discipline that deals with the structure and identity of body parts. When it is about the human body, it is referred to as “human anatomy.” The word “anatomy” stems from Greek, meaning “to cut apart,” which does not come as a surprise considering the need to dissect a dead body to do a proper study of both the internal and external tissues.
This discipline is a wide one that can focus on analyzing not just dead bodies, but also living bodies depending on the purpose and depth of the analysis.
In some cases, there is a need to employ the use of instruments like a microscope to understand the system, organs, tissues, and even cells. To that effect, it is obvious that this discipline deals with the most fundamental study of the structure and identification of the human body.
A difference between physiology and anatomy can be seen in the subtypes of anatomy amidst other differences. The types include the following:
- Gross anatomy
This is the study of structures and identities of the body that can be viewed and observed with the eyes. The more scientific term for this is “macroscopy.” This study is aimed at bringing to light all information about a body part as far as can be seen with the eyes.
This type of study requires cutting open (invasive), not cutting open (non-invasive), or to do both depending on the situation. The use of the dissection technique is quite common in this type of study.
- Microscopic anatomy
This is the study of the structures and identities of the body parts that are too small to be seen and observed with the human eyes. Such body parts are referred to as microscopic, and the use of a microscope is employed in this case.
The most common process employed in this subtype of study usually involves staining a piece of tissue and then studying it under an effective microscope. This tool would magnify the specimen multiple times to make it sensibly visible enough for the human eye to make anything out of it.
Definition of Physiology
Physiology is defined as the study of the functions of different body parts to understand how they work and why. The term comes from the Greek words “physis” and “logos,” which can be interpreted using different words like “origin” or “nature of.” Logos, on the other hand, can be interpreted as “the study of.”
As a way of showing the difference between anatomy and physiology, here are the sub-types of physiology;
This study tracks what changes in a biological organism as a result of development, its functions, and how it changes.
This is the sub-study that deals with animals and everything that contributes to their being from inception to death.
The main focus of this study is to compare and contrast to see the physiological relationship between two or more organisms.
This is about every developmental process of plants, how to keep them healthy, and what to avoid to maintain their good health.
The goal of this sub-type is to make the study of physiology as practical as possible and implemented in the required walks of life.
This deals with the study of organisms that are too small to be seen and observed with the naked eye. An integral part of this type of study is the microscope.
Main Differences Between Anatomy vs Physiology
Here is a tabular representation of the difference between anatomy and physiology for easier understanding.
|Basis of Comparison||Anatomy||Physiology|
|Definition||The discipline that deals with the structure and identity of body parts||Study of the functions of different body parts to understand how they work and why|
|Goals||Identifying the different parts of the body structure||Understanding the roles of different parts of the body|
|Can be identified with||Living and dead bodies||Living bodies only|
|Sub-types||Gross and microscopic||Microscopic, practical, plants, animal, comparative, and developmental|
Difference Between Anatomy and Physiology: Conclusion
Having come this far, you should be able to answer the question what is the difference between anatomy and physiology? The first addresses the structure and identity of the parts of a body while the latter is about the functions of the parts of the body.
They have a few similarities since they both deal with parts of a body and the procedures of study involve the use of a microscope in both cases. That notwithstanding, these disciplines address different goals and benefits.