RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 'Dr Munro Anatomy'. [Edinburgh University lecture notes]. (1825) CUL-DAR5.A13-A23 Transcribed by John van Wyhe. (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2009, corrections and further transcription by Kees Rookmaaker 3.2010. RN1

NOTE: These lecture notes, only a portion of which seem to survive, were taken during Darwin's two years of medical study at the University of Edinburgh, 1826-7. In his Autobiography Darwin recalled: "Dr. Munro made his lectures on human anatomy as dull, as he was himself, and the subject disgusted me. It has proved one of the greatest evils in my life that I was not urged to practice dissection, for I should soon have got over my disgust; and the practice would have been invaluable for all my future work.", p. 47. See Ashworth, J. H. 1935. Charles Darwin as a student in Edinburgh, 1825-1827. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 55: 97-113, pls. 1-2.

There are further notes on Monro's anatomy in CUL-DAR5.12

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Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.


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1825. —



Dr Monro Anatomy. — 1

The bones are divided into three divisions viz. those of the trunk, head, & extremities.

1st The trunk.— The vertebrae are divided into two classes, the real or moveable & the false. The moveable vertebrae are 24 in number, & divided into the Lumbar, Dorsal & Cervical. Each Vertebra has 7 processes, 1st the spinous & two transverse & the 4 articulary or oblique. To these three processes, the muscles ligaments & ribs are fixed, & by them, the spinal marrow is contained & depended. The three sorts of Vertebrae may be characterized by the following rules:—
1st that the Lumbar are larger than the Dorsal & the Dorsal than the Cervical
2nd.— by the small size of the transverse processes in the Lumbar; by the spinous

1 Alexander Monro [III] (1773-1859), anatomist and Professor of Anatomy, Edinburgh.

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process in the Dorsal pointing downwards obliquely, & lastly in the Cervical by the transverse processes being perforated for the nerves & blood vessels & by the spinous being bifid.— There are only two transverse processes to the 9 false vertebrae, & these are divided into two classes; viz. the os sacrum consisting of the five upper articulations & the os Coccygis of the 4 lower; These (separate in the foetus) articulations are generally cemented together in after life.—

The upper Cervical Vertebra is remarkable by its consisting of a bony arch & not of a solid substance, also by the superior oblique processes being very large, so as to fit into the Condyles of the Occipital bone. The second vertebra is singular by a conical process which turns like a pivot in







the upper cervical, or Atlas. Hence the former is called Vertebra dentata. — The seventh & last cervical Vertebra may be distinguished by the great size of the spinous process. — The Pelvis is divided into the os sacrum, ossa innominata & ossa coccygis. — The ossa inominata are also divided into three classes. 1st the os Ilium, the os Ischium & lastly the os pubis. — The ossa inominata os ilium consists of a large flat bone, concave on its inner surface, & with four processes, to which a great many muscles are fixed. The os ischium is the bone on which we sit, & lastly the ossa pubis are the anterior bones of the pelvis & support the abdomen. —

The cervical Vertebrae posses much greater freedom of motion, by the shortness of the spinous processes, than the Dorsal or fiecula

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The female pelvis may be distinguished from the male, by the former being Oval in a lateral direction & by the greater width between the rami of the pubes & ischia, than in the male.—

The Bones which compose the Thoracic cavity are the Vertebrae (already discussed) the ribs & sternum. — The ribs are long curved bones, fixed at the one extremity to the sternum by the means of cartilage & at the other very firmly by their tubercles to the 2 adjoining Vertebrae. The ribs are 12 in number— The seven superior are called true, the five remaining false, the three uppermost of which are fixed to one another & to the 9th the two last are called floating or abdominal ribs.—

male & female Pelvis









The Ribs Cont.


The Sternum

Dr Monro Anatomy.

Each rib has a groove in it for the reception of the nerves arterys &c, it has also two vertical edges, the sup. or [altantal], the infer. or sacral. There is an exception to this, viz that the first rib is in an horizontal position, this rib is also remarquable but its being fixed onto only one Vertebra. This also is the case with the last or 12th rib.— The Sternum is classed into three divisions; The upper is heart=shaped & supports the clavicles. The first rib & half the second. The next portion of the sternum secures the remaining half of the second. the 3d, 4th 5th & 6th & half the 7th. The last part, called from its shape, cartilago ensiformis, only receives the remaining half of the 7th. In the foetus the sternum consists of 4 small bones, with cartilegous rings.—

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The bones of the head are separated from each by various sutures, such as the coranad, sagittal, lamboidal, spenoid, squamous facial &c & are classified into the bones of the face & head. — Those of the head are eight in number viz. the os frontis, the 2 ossa parietalia, the os occiputis, spenoidis, & ethmoidis, & lastly the 2 ossa tempera. The os frontis is situated in the upper & forepart of the face & cranium. — In the centre of the lower part is the nasal process, on each side of which is the interior angular process & extending outwards from these are the superciliary ridges, at the extremities of which are the exterior angular processes. On the superciliary ridges there are notches for the frontal twig of the ophthalmic nerves, —

Bones of the Head

Os frontes




Ossa parietalia

Above these [illeg] notches are the small the elevations of the frontal sinuses, & below them the orbitary process, forming a part of the orbitary process, forming a part of the socket of the eye. — In each of these there are two small cavities, one for the cartilaginous pulley of the superior oblique muscle of the eye, & the other for the lachrymal gland. The os frontis is separated from the ossa parietatum by the coronal suture. — the ossa parietalia are of a quadrangular figure having four sides viz. the superior or corona, the inferior or basilar, the anterior, & the posterior or inial, they have likewise 4 angles, namely the sup.ant.angle, the inf.ant.angle, the & lastly the There is a small foramen in the superior edge of this bone. The two ossa parietalia are united by the sagittal suture & when thus [illeg] formed, will sustain an immense weight

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The Os occuputis is the most inferior of the bones of the cranium, it is rather of an oval shape, with various transverse ridges for the insertion of muscles. This bone is joined to the ossa parietalia by the Lamboidal suture & to the ossa tempora by the additamentum suturae lambdoidalis. — There are several foramina in this bone, the greatest of which is the foramen magnum, through which it passes medulla oblongata, there are also four others, viz. the 2 posterior condylous foramina, & the 2 anterior condyloid. — On either side of the foramen magnum are the condyles processis to which Atlas is fixed, & between them is a rough surface to which the ligaments are fitted that support the Vertebra dentata. — There is a very remarquable projection in this bone viz the cuneiform process, this bone process in adults is generally ossified to the os spinoidis; in this process also there is a procession for the med.oblon., as there is in the concave surface depression for the cerebrum cerebellum.

Os occuputis





Os Temporis

Dr Monro Anatomy

The Temporal bone is divided for classification into three parts the superior the mamillary, & the inferior or petrous part. — In the sup. part there are several projections, the principal one of which is that on which the Condyles of the inferior maxillary bone, & also play: there is also a cavity in this bone for the process of the latter former latter. The mamillary portion is remarquable for nothing except the process from whence it takes its name, this process is hollow & assist materially the organ of heaving. there is also a small foramen through which a vein passes. — In the last or petrous portion of the os Temporis is the meatus foramen auditorius externus, around which there are several elevations for the insertion of the cartilage of the ear, & inferior to them, are two very large processes the styloid & vaginal. There are in this bone a great many foramina, for conveying the auditory & facial nerves. the carotid artery, the sympathetic nerves & the Eustachian [tube]

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The Ethmoid bone consists chiefly of cribiform lamellae, from whence arises on the one side the crista galli, to which the false cerebri is attached, & on the other the nasal lamellae or septum, on each side of this are the smooth plates forming a part of the socket of the eye. — This bone has a great many foramina for the passage of the olfactory nerves, it has also several sinuses. —

The Os Sphenoidis — the Use of this bone is explained by its name, being wedged in between various bones of the head & face. In this bone there are many important projections such as the 2 temporal, the 2 internal & 2 external pterygoid processes. There are also several foramina the chief of which are the foramen lacerum anterius the foramen ovale, &c &c these transmit the ophthalmic nerves & arteries


Os Ethmoidis


Os Sphenoidis



Os Sphenoidis


The nasal bone


Ossa maxillaria

On the internal view of this bone may be seen several processes, of which the two anterior & 2 posterior [clinoids] together, with the depression made by the pituitary gland form what is called the sella turcica; — Posterior to this is the cuneiform process connecting this bone to the os occipitis. The Ethnoidal & transverse spinous process are slightly depressed by the Cerebrum.

The nasal bones are of an oblong figure rough at the one end for its articulation with the frontal & at the other thin & irregular for the motion of the cartilage. These bones resting on the septum [nasimi] of the Ethmoid bone are joined by the anter. nasal suture, & to the nasal process of the upper maxillary by the Lateral nasal suture. —

The upper maxillary bone. — This bone has on its upper extremity 3 large processes the nasal, orbitary & malar. — The nasal process


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helps to form the cavity of the Nares, & together with the Lacrymal & inferior spongey bone forms the Lacrymal duct, for conveying the Tears to the nose.

The orbitary process together with many other bones forms the socket of the Eye. The sockets for the teeth are called alveolar depressions and above them are the alveolar processes, superior to this is the antrum maxillare, making this bone very thin. — There are only two unimportant foramina for some trays of the orbitary & nasal nerves. —

This one is situated on the internal angle of the orbit. On its external view it has a vertical ridge, & on each side a depression, one for helps to form the lacrymal duct & the other the orbit, on the interior surface, it as 2 irregular convex surfaces with a groove. This bone is chiefly fixed to the upper maxillary bone. —






Ossa Lacrymalia




Ossa mala


Ossa Salati

Os spongiosum

Dr Monro Anatomy

The Cheek Bone is of a quadrangular figure, the two upper angles of which are called, the superior orbital & the inferior orbital processes. the lower angles are named, maxillary & zygomatic, on the internal surface there is a depression for the Temporal muscles.

This bone is bone is unintelligible to me it helps to form the orbit, the nose, the palate. it is joined to the sphenoid bone by the sterigoid processes. The two orbital process sometimes are joined, they are the foramen is named the spheno-palatin, from the former bone enters into its composition. — The inferior spongy is of a delicate cubiform nature, like the ethmoid, resting on the nasal ridges of the superior maxillary bone & on the Palate bone, it contributes to form nasal duct & Antrum: It receives some nasal twigs of sup. maxillary nerve

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The Vomer is of an irregular rompoidal figure, situated at the posterior part of the nostrils. Its superior edge has a groove in it for the insertion of the Azygos process of the Sphenoid bone, its inferior edge rests on the nasal process of the maxillary & palatine bones, its anterior side together with the last short edge which may be considered as its continuation, recurs the nasal lamellae of the Ethnoid bone & the cartilaginous septum of the nostrils. The lower jaw consists in foetus of two parts joined in adults by the symphysis menti. This bone is attached to the temporal by its condyloid processes, through the medium of a doubly concave cartilage. Where this process is narrower is called the cervix, below this arises the coronoid projection for the insertion of tension muscle, extending obliquely from this to the alveolar process giving rise to the Baccinator muscle, there is only one [illeg] giving it to the infer. [illeg] nerve.



Ossa maxillaris





The teeth are 16 in number consisting of the [illeg] 4 incisors, 2 canine, 5 molares in each maxilla. — The molares are divided into bicuspides, consisting of the 2 anterior & the proper, the three posterior, the last one of which is called dens sapientia. The fangs of the proper molares are 3 in the upper jaw & 2 in the lower. The bicuspides have a flattened one, as if two were united, & lastly the canine & incisore have only one. — The bones of the shoulder are two in number, the Clavicle & Scapula the clavicle in shape represent the letter f. being fixed at one extremity by a capsular ligament, to the sternum & by the interclavicular ligament to the other clavicle & to the first rib by the Rhomboid ligament. — At the other extremity it is fixed to the Scapula

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to the acromium process of the scapula passing over the coracoid process. the muscles which are fixed to this bone are very numerous: the inferior [illeg] which only uses the fore extremities for progressive motion are destitute of this bone. — The Scapula is a thin irregular triangle shaped bone divided into two parts by a high ridge, called the spine, terminating in the acromium process. The os brachii is fixed to this bone near the acromium process by a capsular ligament. there is a vast number of very important muscles fixed to this bone. This bone is not frequently fractured.





Os Brachii

Dr Monro Anatomy

The Os Brachii consists of a shaft terminating at both extremities in epiphyses, the superior one consists of a smooth head which rotates in the glenoid cavity of the scapula. Near this there are the tubercles divided by a fossa & giving origin to two ridges which extend half way down the bone. The head is surrounded by a cervix into which the capsular ligament is inserted. At the inferior extremity of this bone there are two acute ridges terminating in the condyles & between these condyles is the Trochlea which when seen posteriorly appears single in consequence of the Ulna alone being articulated to it. below this is the greater sigmoid cavity which receives the olecranon process. when seen anteriorly, it appears double, on account of the round cavity in which the radius plays. below this is the less sigmoid cavity receiving the coronoid process

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The bone of the fore arm consist of the radius & ulna. The ulna is longer at its proximal extremity than the Radius; where is the sigmoid cavity in which the Radius rotates, at this extremity also is the ancon, on which we rest. The Radius is much thicker at its Distal extremity, in which there are several cavities for the articulation of the metacarpi.

The bones of the Hand are divided into the carpus 8 in number, metacarpus 5 in number & the phalanges 3 in each finger, but only 2 in the thumb. — the carpi consist of the os scapularis lunate Cuneiforme Sisiforme Trapezium Trapezoides, magnum & unciforme. these are all united to each other by a thin capsular ligament. The os scaphoidis & Lunate have a plan surface for the articulation of the bones of the arm, they are united to each other by a thin plate




Bones of the








The bones of the metacarpus are five in number resembling their structure, the long cylindrical bones. On their palmar view they are acute, but on the anconal flattened on their lateral aspect. there are numerous little tubercles, for the insertion of the ligaments, which hold them together. In old labourers two small bones called sesamoid are often found, at the distal extremity of metacarpous of the thumb.

The bones of the first phalanx resemble all other cylindrical bones. — The second phalanges are similar to the first except that the thumb has none. The last bones of the phalanx are much smaller than the others. On the palmar view of their distal extremity there is an arched secondary surface for the delicate nerves & blood vessels on the anconal view. it is smooth for insertion of the nails.


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The Os Temporis is articulated to the Acetabulum by round head, near to which are two large processes viz. the Trocanter major on the external surface, & the Trocanter minor on the inner. On the posterior view of this bone is a ridge called the Linea Aspera, this at the distal extremity bifurcates ending in two large epiphyces between which there is a large hollow for the vein nerves &c. —

The patella is a flat bone, divided posteriorly by a ridge, the exterior division being the largest. —

The Tibia & fibula are connected together by strong transient ligaments. Of them, the Tibia is the strongest of a triangular shape; situated interiorly, at the proximal there are the cavities for the reception of the condyles of the Os Femoris the internal is much the largest

Os Femoris









Dr Monro Anatomy

Near this arises the Patellar spine, called the shin. on the [illeg] aspect there also is a transverse ridge. At the distal extremity of this bone there is a cavity by which it is articulated to the Os Astralagus & naviculare. At the foot, on the internal view there is a projection th called the Malleolus internus.

The Fibula. This bone is also of a triangular shape, [illeg] at proximal extremity it is smooth where it is articulated to the Tibia, but at distal extrem. it terminates in an oblong spongy point, called the Coronoid process or Malleolus externus. To this is attached the internal lateral ligament which connects Astralagus & os calcis. —

The Bones of the Tarsi are eight 7 in number. the metatarsi 5. & the phalanges the same as in the hand


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The Tarsi are 1st Os Astralagus naviculare calcis; cuneiforme internum, medium, externum; & lastly Cuboibes. The Tibia is articulated to the Os Astragali, which has two smooth surfaces for the malleoli.

The metatarsi are the same as in the hand, as are the Phalanges, only that the bones of the great toe are stronger in proportion than the thumb. —







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