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Anatomic Variations in Humans | Fabella | Situs Inversus | Episode 43

by Kevin Patton

Anatomic Variations in Humans

TAPP Radio Episode 43

Quick Take

00:40 | Preview Episodes
04:58 | Sponsored by HAPS
05:48 | Fabella Bone
15:51 | Sponsored by AAA
16:11 | Situs Inversus
32:18 |  Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program
32:57 | Variety of Anatomic Variations
42:43 | Nuzzel Newsletter

Listen Now!

Get the full experience—listen to this episode’s Preview first (with additional content).

The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety. (Moses Mendelssohn)

1 | Preview Episodes

4.15 minutes

If you are skipping over the Preview Episodes, which are each released a few days before a full episode, contain a lot of helpful content that you don’t want to miss!

  • Upcoming topics
  • Word Dissections
  • Book Club selections
    • Bergman’s Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation
      • by R. Shane Tubbs, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Marios Loukas
        • originally created by Ronald Bergman
      • amzn.to/2Lg597V
  • Sometimes, feedback and other interesting stuff!
  • Preview for this episode: Episode 43 Intro | TAPP Radio Preview


2 | Sponsored by HAPS

1 minute

HAPS logoThe Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) is a sponsor of this podcast.  You can help appreciate their support by clicking the link below and checking out the many resources and benefits found there. AND mention your appreciation to the HAPS leadership while you are at the conference—or anytime that you communicate with them.

Anatomy & Physiology Society 


Kevin’s Unofficial Guide to the HAPS Annual Conference | 2019 Edition | Episode 42


3 | Fabella Bone


Fabella image: Jmarchn (my-ap.us/2Wm6Di3)

10 minutes

The fabella (pl., fabellae) is a small, beanlike bone that may (or not) occur behind the knee joint. Recent evidence shows that it’s showing up  more frequently in the population. Why?

  • Fabella prevalence rate increases over 150 years, and rates of other sesamoid bones remain constant: a systematic review (recent research article) my-ap.us/2WkRSMs
  • Sore knee? Maybe you have a fabella (plain English report from the BBC) my-ap.us/2Wmd6cN
  • Fabella x-radiograph (to use in your course) my-ap.us/2Wm6Di3
  • An illustration you can download as a PDF and use is available in the free TAPP APP theAPprofessor.org/TAPPapp
  • Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution by Jonathan B. Losos  (book  on  updated  ideas  of  evolution)


4 | Sponsored by AAA

0.5 minute

American Association of Anatomists

The searchable transcript for this episode, as well as the captioned audiogram of this episode, are sponsored by The American Association of Anatomists (AAA) at anatomy.org. Their big meeting is in April at the Experimental Biology (EB) meeting in Orlando FL. Check it out!


5 | Situs Inversus

16 minutes

Situs inversus is a mirrorlike flipping of visceral organs that occurs in embryonic development. Also called situs transversus or situs oppositus. Normal siting of organs is called situs solitus.

  • Situs inversus and my ‘through the looking glass’ body (recent article by someone living with situs inversus) my-ap.us/2WatPzP
  • Body donor’s rare anatomy offers valuable lessons (press release on recent 99-year old donor with situs inversus with levocardia) my-ap.us/2Wf5MzO
  • Heart Transplantation in Situs Inversus Maintaining Dextrocardia (interesting study of transplanting ‘normal’ hearts into patients with dextrocardia) my-ap.us/2WmbTlL

ERROR: In my discussion of the cast of situs inversus in the young man from the 1800s, I mixed up my left and right. Yikes. The appendix is on the right in situs solitus, but on the left in situs inversus. This was corrected in the audio file on 10 May 2019, but the correction may not be heard in all available platforms.


6| Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program

0.5 minute

NYCC Human Anatomy and Physiology InstructionThe Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction—the MS-HAPI—is graduate program for A&P teachers. A combination of science courses (enough to qualify you to teach at the college level) and courses in instructional practice, this program helps you power up  your teaching. Kevin Patton is a faculty member in this program. Check it out!

There will be a HAPI table in the Exhibit Hall at the 2019 HAPS Annual Conference. Stop by and say hi!



7 | Variety of Anatomic Variations

5 minutesEpisode 43

Perhaps variation is normal. And maybe “normal” is a mythical, but useful, construct we use in understanding human anatomy.

  • Brief list of some human anatomical variations my-ap.us/2WrAC8q
  • How do we handle anatomic variations (vs. “normal”) in our A&P course?
    • I’m thinking there isn’t a best way. I’m thinking it’s largely up to us as artists to decide what works best.
      • Remember, in my world, teaching is both and art and a science. We are, among other things, artist of telling stories. Stories about the human body.
      • So I think we need to really think about, play with, experiment with, different ways of telling our story of human anatomy so that at some point it’s clear that we don’t all look like the idealized sketches in our books and models on the lab bench. Or even all the elderly cadavers in our dissection lab.
      • Perhaps we can begin by being clear and intentional about pointing out differences arising from development and aging, from the effects of sex hormones, from environmental influences, from the range of possible human activities (or lack of activity), then bring in all those variations in genetic code and variations in how embryological events  unfold, or maybe I should say fold.
    • I think in the end, the best story of human anatomy is a story of the awesome and beautiful balance of both unity and variety in the human form.


8 | Nuzzel

1.5 minutes

A daily collection of headlines of interest to A&P professors, curated by Kevin Patton

Revue (by Twitter) logoOr fill out the form…


Update! The update newsletter has been migrated from Nuzzel to Revue!

Need help accessing resources locked behind a paywall?
Check out this advice from Episode 32 to get what you need!

(If no link or player are visible, go to https://youtu.be/JU_l76JGwVw?t=440)

This podcast is sponsored by the
Human Anatomy & Physiology Society
HAPS logo

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To read a complete transcript of this episode,
click here.

The searchable transcript for this episode is sponsored by
The American Association of Anatomists.
American Association of Anatomists

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Snagit & Camtasia

Preview of Episode 44

Host Kevin Patton previews the content of the upcoming full episode, which focuses on how students address faculty and other topics. There’s more… some word dissections, a lot of them, and a recommendation from The A&P Professor Book Club.

professor teaching


1 minute

  • Anatomical right and left
  • Semi-identical twins
  • Method for sorting student papers quickly
  • Using stickers for student feedback
  • How students address professors

Word Dissections

5.5 minutes

  • Gamification
  • Zygote
  • Tripolar
  • Pronucleus
  • Locus
  • Blastocyst

Book Club

5 minutes


Last updated: October 31, 2021 at 14:25 pm

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