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An anatomy quiz!

The Australian department of health distributed these posters to aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders to improve understanding of their bodies. I’m forced to conclude that either aboriginal peoples in the southern hemisphere are aliens with a remarkably deviant body plan, or the Australian government doesn’t give a damn.

Can you spot all the errors?

Answers:
Heart is reversed
Right kidney is not a pancreas
Ovaries are not kidneys
Stomach is not a respiratory organ
Small intestines are not a pear-shaped organ called the stomach

The poster has been withdrawn. The real mystery is whose understanding of anatomy at the health department is this bad.

Comments

  1. kieran says

    Off topic:

    The National trust has announced it’s results of it’s review

    http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/local-to-you/northern-ireland/news/view-page/item981462/ the transcript of the audio can be found here http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/servlet/file/store5/item981488/version1/GC.pdf and you can compare it against the original here https://www.facebook.com/groups/CausewayCampaign/doc/263568703742806/. It’s not perfect, no mention would have been better but at least it makes it clear that the science is settled and the reason for rejecting it is for religious reasons.

    The opposition are in full pigeon mode as we speak and claiming that there hasn’t been a substantive change, it’s clear that the National trust supports the science not the creationists

  2. anubisprime says

    Novel place to stash the kidneys & stomach.

    Just how many committees did that go through?
    Or maybe the printers are aliens with a vague idea of human anatomy.
    Whatever extremely shoddy and a complete waste of tax payer spondoolies.

    Methinks at least someone, maybe someones, should go back to school in that debacle.

  3. says

    Thanks, I needed a laugh!

    The stomach is labelled as a lung, a kidney is labelled as a pancreas, the small intestine is labelled as the stomach, the large intestine is labelled as the small intestine, and the ovary is labelled as a kidney.

    Do I win?

  4. Beatrice says

    I’m going with “no one cared enough to notice that someone messed up copy pasting arrows in Paint”.

  5. Dick the Damned says

    Can we have an anatomy poster for Creationists?

    Starting with the space between their ears, what organ would go there, i wonder?

  6. ibbica says

    Not to defend them, but it’s not actually *that* bad. Looks rather like someone shifted the labels down for aesthetic reasons* but didn’t shift the base of all the arrows to match. An editing error, rather than a profound ignorance of anatomy. I hope.

    But yeah, still quite wrong XD

    *Probably from trying to squeeze the pancreas in there. But what’s up with including the pancreas but not the spleen? And no thyroid, no adrenal glands, no pituitary? pfft, slackers.

  7. scottrobson says

    I don’t know about the Australian government not giving a damn… looks like a graphic designer was sloppy. However, before they were sent out a sanity check should have taken place.

  8. Beatrice says

    ibbica,

    For me at least, the bad thing is that no one gave enough thought to these posters to notice a glaring mistake like that.

  9. ibbica says

    Hm… can you have situs inversus of one organ?

    I’m pretty sure my esophagus doesn’t wind behind my left lung quite like that, either. Pretty sure.

    I can’t really fault them too much for putting the kidneys at (what appears to be) the same level, plenty of textbooks do that in simple stylistic diagrams. But still, more fuel for the fire XD

  10. AshPlant says

    It’s not so much failing at anatomy as failing at arrows. At least they didn’t egregiously fuck up the descriptors.

    Also, Winterwind @6:

    I just wanted to let people know that not all Australians are aliens.

    Nonsense, it’s right there in the name :p.

  11. A. R says

    PZ: You missed one. The liver is not the largest glandular organ in the body. That would be the skin.

  12. CorvusCorvax says

    Can we have an anatomy poster for Creationists?

    Starting with the space between their ears, what organ would go there, i wonder?

    I think it is similar to the above diagram, but instead of having the rectum releasing material into the abdominal cavity, it is rerouted into the cranium, where the material eventually makes it’s way out the oral cavity.

  13. puppygod says

    Ok. I understand the badly displaced arrows. I even kinda understand the awful picture with brain outside skull and stuff. But how do kidneys remove excess sugar? O_o

  14. Matthew says

    I’m more concerned with the physiology than the anatomy. Messing up arrows is bad, but assigning wrong functions is worse.

  15. ibbica says

    @Audley Z. Darkheart (liar and scoundrel), come on now, they don’t have any pissing or crapping out the vagina. They don’t have anywhere for the piss or crap to go. Not sure if that’s better or worse…

    @PZ, yeah I can see that being a problem. In the middle of getting a few things ready for publication, so I guess right now I’m just feeling a little sympathetic to people who make a stupid mistake or two ;) (But yeah, seeing so many in one supposed-to-be-educational place is really bad and kind of depressing :/ )

  16. jnorris says

    I am sure a lot of people with lung cancer would like to have a spare lung in their gut.

  17. gussnarp says

    I didn’t even notice. I just read the names and assigned them to the correct organs without really looking at the pointers, so it just didn’t occur to me that they were pointing to the wrong things.

  18. Didaktylos says

    Pissing and crapping out of the vagina – they have clearly reclassified humans as monotremes …

  19. loopyj says

    @22 puppygod
    But how do kidneys remove excess sugar? O_o

    The kidneys filter your blood, removing excess salt and sugar and other wastes from your bloodstream and use water to move these wastes into your urinary tract for excretion. This is why diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugars have unusual thirst: their bodies need the extra fluid to flush out (or ‘dump’) the excess glucose through urination (the sugar in the blood is unable to get into muscle or fat cells due to insufficient insulin or the cells’ resistance to insulin). Both poorly controlled diabetes and hypertension can damage the kidneys, which is why these diseases often lead to kidney failure.

  20. Michael says

    @22 I caught the excess sugar part too. The kidneys will reabsorb excess sugar, but in non-diabetics they don’t excrete it (that was how they worked out the function of the pancreas – when they removed a dog’s pancreas, it’s urine attracted flies because of the sugar).

  21. ischemgeek says

    Errors I’ve noticed:

    *Apparently there is a lung in the stomach.
    *Left lung on right side of chest.
    *Right kidney =/=pancreas
    *We only have one pancreas
    *A single ovary =/= kidneys
    *The colon =/= small intestine
    *small intestine =/= stomach
    *Where’s the trachea?

    … and I’m sure I’ve missed some.

  22. Trebuchet says

    @#8, Beatrice:

    I’m going with “no one cared enough to notice that someone messed up copy pasting arrows in Paint”.

    Dollar to a donut it’s PowerPoint, not Paint!

    In addition to all her other problems, that lady appears to me to have a severe vaginal prolapse.

  23. says

    As a graphic designer, I have to say that yes, these are gross errors probably caused by a combination of ignorance and poor workflow. It’s something I’ve seen a lot of, alas. Like ibicca says, it looks like someone added copy (i.e. more words) to the thing, probably just under the wire, and whoever added the copy forgot to check the pointers. And then the finished artwork didn’t get checked properly by whoever was paying for it.

    As an aside, I should have known that the last marketing company I worked for as a salaried art-bod was on the slide when our new manager thought we could “streamline” the workflow by eliminating the final peer-check before dispatching for print. Doing that just meant that we missed errors that had to be corrected at the printers’ proof stage, closer to the clients’ deadline and that much more disruptive to other projects. Or worse, jobs were printed with mistakes and had to be withdrawn, corrected and reprinted at our expense.

    The solution, of course, is not to be error-free individually — that’s impossible — but to check, check and check again. And get others to check for what you will miss through seeing what you thought you did instead of what you actually did. And you do that, in a professional art design environment, by establishing a workflow where checking is an integral part of the regime and accounted for in the timetable.

  24. d.f.manno says

    @ Dick the Damned (#9):

    Can we have an anatomy poster for Creationists? Starting with the space between their ears, what organ would go there, i wonder?

    A Wurlitzer.

  25. tobiasmbonne says

    “I’m forced to conclude that either aboriginal peoples in the southern hemisphere are aliens with a remarkably deviant body plan, or the Australian government doesn’t give a damn.”

    I believe you’ve missed a plausible third option here Professor Myers:
    This might very well be what the people over at the Australian department of health think aboriginal anatomy look like. Not like the government treat those people as humans anyway.

  26. StevoR says

    An anatomy quiz!

    Durnnit! That ain’t my best subject.

    Could I have an astronomy one instead please?

    Mind you, even I know that the brain is not located in the hair.

    And the ovaries are found a little higher aren’t they?

    Also that pancreas? Ain’t that actually a liver?

    (No, I haven’t checked the answers yet & I’m sure it won’t surprise y’all when I admit I’m drunk and over-tired as usual.)

  27. says

    Ibicca:

    @Audley Z. Darkheart (liar and scoundrel), come on now, they don’t have any pissing or crapping out the vagina. They don’t have anywhere for the piss or crap to go. Not sure if that’s better or worse…

    :D It’s hard to tell what is pointing where on my tiny tiny phone screen. Which prolly makes the graphic better, now that I think about it.

  28. khms says

    @31 Michael

    @22 I caught the excess sugar part too. The kidneys will reabsorb excess sugar, but in non-diabetics they don’t excrete it (that was how they worked out the function of the pancreas – when they removed a dog’s pancreas, it’s urine attracted flies because of the sugar).

    It’s not that diabetics’ kidneys work differently, it’s that for non-diabetics, blood sugar rarely reaches the level where they dump sugar into the urine. It’s a kind of safety valve, trying to keep the blood sugar level below approximately 160 mg/dl (where “normal” is around 100 mg/dl), because high blood sugar levels can do quite a bit of damage (for example, to peripheral fine nerves – that is, you’ll lose feelings in your feet – that is, you stop noticing damage to your feet – that is, you might ignore damage for long enough that amputation is the only possible fix).

    Everything is a poison, it just depends on the amounts.

  29. F says

    Poster designers are gonna get a bill for coffee stains on carpet since they made me spray it everywhere.

  30. naturalcynic says

    To start with, there is a frame-shift mutation in the pointers. If that is cleared up, the major problem is the position of many of the organs. It just doesn’t work out in two dimensions. Then it goes into significant oversimplifications. Gack

    pupygod

    But how do kidneys remove excess sugar? O_o

    If you’re seriously hyperglycemic you can piss off a lot of blood glucose and keep your blood from turning to syrup.

    And the shit goes into the ureter and into the misplaced bladder, then into the uterusand out the, uh, cloaca.

  31. cyberCMDR says

    You know, a CPAP will supply air to you under positive pressure, and some of it does go to the stomach. Unfortunately, it all comes out in the end…

  32. naturalcynic says

    @40 khms: The overall problem may be glycosylation of proteins throughout the body. A high concentration of blood glucose adds a glucose unit to many proteins. The one that is analyzed with a simple blood test is glycosylated [or glycated] hemoglobin – HbA1c, which is commonly tested to indicate long-term blood glucose control. Glycation of hemoglobin and other proteins can change the structure and function. One of the older theories of aging is an accumulation of AGE’s – Advanced Glycation Endproducts, which elevated blood glucose will accelerate.
    Another problem caused by elevated blood glucose is a change in osmotic balance throughout the body. Glucose in the urine increases urine volume, causing dehydration. Excess extracellular glucose will dehydrate cells, upsetting many processes. The neuropathy that you described is probably a combination of processes.

  33. quidam says

    I have to confess that I didn’t spot any of the errors. I read the descriptors and looked at the organs but didn’t notice that the arrows didn’t line up. Oh well.

  34. chigau (違わない) says

    jtdavi3
    Are you sure it’s your heart?
    It could be one of your pancreases.
    (see poster)

  35. lesherb says

    I’m guessing Todd Akin (the senate candidate from Missouri) had a hand in this. ;-)

  36. frog says

    Let’s not twit the Australians too badly about this. A friend of mine is freelancing at an educational publisher in the USA–a mainstream company, not one that’s run by or directed at radical religious folks–and the number of factual errors that cross her desk is scary.

    When she tries to point out the problems, they listen to her about 50% of the time. Errors of science and bad grammar are issuing from this place despite the warnings of the person they hired to prevent errors.

    Does no one have standards anymore? (Also, you kids get off my lawn!)

  37. Ichthyic says

    Does no one have standards anymore?

    sure they do.

    it’s just you must have missed when the word “standard” was redefined in meaning to denote “the personal opinion of whoever happens to be in charge”

    I think it happened in the early 80s.

  38. says

    No, this is the respectful, culturally sensitive version of Indigenous anatomy which takes into account traditional beliefs and practices via a postmodern approach to relativistic claims. If Indigenous people have a deep-seated cultural tradition of believing their kidneys are ovaries, then it would clearly be wrong of Western science to adopt an approach of cultural imperialism which claims otherwise. And this deep and abiding respect for beliefs and traditions which appear to be in error by shallow Western standards pervades the treatment of Aboriginal people by Australian governments.

    Which explains a lot.

    http://www.convictcreations.com/history/images/aboriginaldisadvantage.jpg

  39. beadle says

    Nobody mentioned “comprised of” in “Ovaries”. Always a sure sign of a poor writer and an incompetent editor combination.

    Although the incorrectly positioned arrows are the most obvious errors, and are most likely the result of just sloppy graphics editing, this poster really does show a worrisome ignorance of the basic human anatomy on more than one level.

  40. tashi says

    I personally like how the uterus and vagina have morphed into one supergenital. Or something. And here I always thought they were different…

  41. bortedwards says

    Here is the cartoonists take from the Canberra Times:

    [IMG]http://i47.tinypic.com/2zdprur.jpg[/IMG]

  42. says

    AND nothing’s connected! No veins & arteries, no tubes to connect things, no urethra and colon connecting to the outside (as noticed above). Also no skeleton. And everything should be fitted closely together, not floating around the inside of the body.

  43. says

    As someone who works at the department in question, I just want to let you all know that we’re really not that bad! The poster was produced by the area of our department responsible for indigenous health, which unfortunately does not have a reputation for excellence. Knowing how things work around here, my guess is that the labels got messed up late in the process and whoever was responsible for getting this published just didn’t bother proofing the final design before printing. I bet they’re getting reamed by the bosses right now.

    I want to assure you that a lot of us are hard-working, intelligent people (some of us even have science degrees) who know where the ovaries actually are.

    Now please continue, because it is hilariously bad.

  44. kaleberg says

    The Torres Islanders (and many northern Australian aborigines) are noted for their drawings of animals (and sometimes humans) in what is called “x-ray style”. They draw the basic envelope of the body and include much of the skeleton and many of the major organs, particularly the ones they consider useful or significant like the heart or liver. The drawings aren’t anatomically perfect, but they include all the relevant schematic information. I think it is ironic that this drawing in western x-ray style was so full of errors. Maybe they should have hired a local artist familiar with the more traditional local style.