A cadaver is a dead body that is used for dissection. To
dissect is to separate into pieces for scientific
examination. Medical students work with cadavers of
human beings to learn about the anatomy (structure) of the
human body. However, in biology classes, cadavers of
non-human animals such as frogs and pigs are dissected
to learn lessons about basic anatomy because there are
many internal structural similarities between non-human
animals and humans. In older times, scientists used the
cadavers of executed criminals or stole them from graves
for human dissection.
A cadaver with a toe tag.
Chemicals are injected into the bodies to prevent them from decaying too quickly. This
process is known as embalming and the most used chemical for this purpose is a
colorless substance known as formaldehyde.
A cadaver is also known as a corpse. Cadaveric means relating to a cadaver.
Cadaverous means to be pale and to appear like a dead body, as can occur in many
people who are sick.
Cadaver comes from the Latin word "cadere" meaning "to fall." The reason for this is that
a dead person falls from a standing position, or as many people say, "drops dead."