Throughout medical history, the practice of dissection has been controversial. During some periods of history it was distasteful or even illegal. At other times it served as the cornerstone of anatomy classes. Public opinion and differences in religious beliefs often meant that some cultures accepted the practice while others did not. The Dittrick Medical History Center at Case Western Reserve University has just published a fascinating new book based their collection of dissection photographs. The book, Dissection: Photographs of a rite of passage in American medicine 1880-1930, discusses the role of dissection in medical school and a little bit about the history of the practice. These images are not for those with weak stomachs! Dissection in the late 1800s was a messy and unsanitary process. You can see the on-line exhibit here. In addition, the blog Morbid Anatomy has a recent post that includes photographs from the book and a press release.