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Dr. Gunther von Hagens 'HUMAN SAGA' Project Presents Sexuality and Reproduction in New Exhibit, The Cycle of Life.
Date:5/5/2009

BERLIN, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Anatomist, Dr. Gunther von Hagens, creator of the BODY WORLDS exhibitions, who set out three years ago to present the human saga in its entirety, introduced the latest volume in his "HUMAN SAGA" project this week.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090505/CG11117)

With the "HUMAN SAGA" project, Dr. von Hagens had hoped to traverse the anatomical landscape left uncharted by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), the founder of modern human anatomy. von Hagens' "HUMAN SAGA" is a historical nod to Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica, the anatomical textbook that corrected the long trail of misinformation about the human body, and forever changed Western medicine.

"When I set out on the project, I decided to explore the brain and then the heart. I then looked at the human life cycle and aging," said von Hagens. The sum of his study and research resulted in The Three Pound Gem, The Story of the Heart, and The Mirror of Time. In his latest exhibition, The Cycle of Life, von Hagens focuses on the biology of reproduction and sexuality. "It is the most fascinating area of study. On the one hand, we know so much about DNA as the stairway of evolution and about the possibilities of cloning, and on the other, religion doesn't allow us to discuss the theoretical possibility of the virgin birth," he said. "We have both stood still and progressed from Vesal's time," he said.

The Cycle of Life, opening in Berlin on May 7, 2009, presents the human body as an amazing anatomical feat. It shows the arc of human development from the spark of conception to maturity. The exhibition offers a deep understanding of the human body, the biology of reproduction, and the nature of sexuality. It will educate and fascinate visitors by reminding them of the promise and power of the human body, and inspiring them towards living with health and vitality.

Dr. von Hagens, who has long been viewed as a transgressive scientist, deals with the subject under his purview with clinical detachment as well as with the relish of an impassioned teacher. In presenting the sex and reproductive plastinates, he says: "It is the most human of all human acts. Both primal and fundamental, and the reason we are all here on this spinning blue globe." He maintains that sexual reproduction is a costly and wasteful enterprise if the goal is reproduction. "The number of male DNA packets deployed for the purpose of fertilizing one female egg, and the labor involved doesn't make any sense at all in terms of efficiency and cost, but it is the only successful means to perpetuate the race and ensure its survival," he said. "It is a paradox, it is both illogical and an evolutionary triumph," Dr. von Hagens said.

In The Cycle of Life, Dr. von Hagens with the help of four consenting donors presents the matter with bracing clarity. Staged near the prenatal gallery in BODY WORLDS -- in a separate room accessible to visitors 16 years and older -- the first, a slice plastinate of a male and female coupling, is reminiscent of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as well as Leonardo da Vinci's anatomical drawing, Coition of a Hemisected Man and Woman (1492). The second is a plastinated coupling of two whole bodies.

For more information about BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life showing in Berlin, please visit www.bodyworlds.com.


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SOURCE BODY WORLDS
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