WHY IS a paleontologist (whose credits include the first book on dinosaurs directed at scientists) teaching anatomy to first-year medical students?
The question is one frequently directed at David Weishampel, PhD, assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy. The answer is, "Because we are very good comparative anatomists."
Weishampel notes that, when it comes to extrapolating the anatomy of a hadrosaur or a parasaurolophus from a few bones, nothing is as valuable as experience in dissecting the composition of extant species. "One outlet is teaching human anatomy. The human structure has been very well studied, intensely scrutinized," he says.
Dividing his professional time between human anatomy and paleontology gives Weishampel a particular perspective on the human's role in today's world. His studies of extinction and speciation more than 75 million years ago can be used as a case study of population behavior in the face of environmental crises. "We have