Adventures in Anatomy is a series which will explore different parts of the body, combining science, myth, history and folklore to look at the way our understanding of them has changed through time, and the part they play in culture and the way we look at the world.

Bare flesh: the Skin

Our skin is how we present ourselves to the outside world. People spend a fortune decorating it and trying to stop the signs of the inevitable progression of time. It also works hard as a formidable barrier between our inner organs doing their essential jobs, and the hazards of the germ-filled world outside. Learn more about anthropodermic bibliopegy, how we make permanent marks on our skin, and the host of creatures who make the outer surface of our bodies their home. 


Cat Irving has been the Human Remains Conservator for Surgeons’ Hall since 2015 and has been caring for anatomical and pathological museum collections for over twenty years. After a degree in Anatomical Science she began removing brains and sewing up bodies at the Edinburgh City Mortuary. Following training in the care of wet tissue collections at the Royal College of Surgeons of England she worked with the preparations of William Hunter at the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University. Cat is a licensed anatomist, and gives regular talks on anatomy and medical history. She recently carried out conservation work on the skeleton of serial killer William Burke

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

See all the events in the series – Adventures in anatomy with Cat Irving