Science Art: Oral Cavity and Paranasal Sinuses – Coronal View exhibit, from Our Body: The Universe Within

Sinuses spiraling behind a bygone nose.
Click to embiggen

Someone went to the museum today. This has always been one of my favorite bits of human anatomy, the spirals inside our sinuses. Evolutionarily, they say they’re there to expose more wet membranes to the air, sticking to all the dust and pollen and stuff that would otherwise go into our lungs (and, incidentally, leaving those of us more sensitive to dust and pollen and stuff vulnerable to runny noses and nasal congestion).

Still, it’s an elegant shape. We walk around with them inside our faces.

This is from the still-controversial Our Body traveling exhibit, which has real cadavers – actual human beings who have been plasticized and displayed as permanent anatomical models. It’s a somber, beautiful thing – so many parts that go into making one body go. I kind of wish I knew whose sinuses these were, though that might make it harder to see them as sinuses and not a part of someone (though of course, they’re both).

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