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.

Lifting the fig leaf: Reproductive Organs

Our genitals are usually hidden away, and words describing them are often considered the most offensive in our culture. They have been grossly misunderstood through history yet without them we wouldn’t be here. Discover where the womb was wandering to, why the castrati had such high voices, and why a woman shouldn’t touch a pickle when she has her period.


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