AP Biology Semester B
The Human Body: It’s Structure and Operation
In The Human Body: Its Structure and Operation, the author, Isaac Asimov, talks about where humans as a species come from and where we fall in the universe. He also discusses how the human body is a single structure made up of cells, tissues, organs, and systems. He further explains how these different parts work together to comprise the body and how the body functions and maintains itself. In his book, Asimov covers in extensive detail the skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Asimov takes great care and detail to make it understood that all these systems are interrelated.
Asimov also explains where humans come from from an evolutionary standpoint and explains how each system and organ evolved as humans and our predecessors adapted and change was necessary for survival. He very carefully draws out a clear line as to where humans fall “in the universe.” Man, as he says, is part of the Class
Mammalia, which is part of the Superclass Tetrapoda, which is part of the Subphylum
Vertebrate, being part of the Phylum Chordata, belonging to the Superphylum
Echinoderm, which is part of the Kingdom Animalia, which is part of all living things in the universe.
Each chapter of the book is devoted to its own system, and, in each, he first goes through the original evolution of the system, stating its origins and reason for being, and then he discusses how the system works and its use and application in the modern human body. For example, he discusses, down to the most minute detail, the reasons why there are two bones in the forearm (the radius and the ulna) and why they are shaped and intertwined in the way they are. It is clear through his use of detail in describing the size, shape, structure and position of the bones, muscles, and tendons, why humans are able to rotate, bend, move, and stretch in the ways that we are so accustomed to.
From having read The Human Body: It’s Structure and Operation, I clearly see how Asimov’s study of the human body ties into biology. Biology is defined as the science of life in all its forms, especially with reference to origin, growth, reproduction, structure, operation, and behavior. Cells and their structure are something that is taught in science classes as early as seventh grade, and Asimov covers the different types of cells and their parts and roles in the book. It is because of this book that I now see the human body as an example of one very large, complex cell. The brain is the nucleus, the skull is the…