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Learning from Leonardo by Fritjof Capra

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7The Science of Flight

From the texts that accompany Leonardo’s anatomical drawings we know that he considered the human body as an animal body, as biologists do today. He often transferred what he learned from numerous dissections of animals to the human body (see p. 227). But beyond these pragmatic aspects, Leonardo’s anatomical studies of animals were grounded in a profound respect and compassion for all living creatures.1 Thus it seemed natural for him, as Domenico Laurenza observes, “to give equal ontological and scientific dignity to humans and animals.”2

Comparative Anatomy

Leonardo used his animal dissections to gain knowledge about human ...

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