Monday, September 9, 2013

W36: Practical Anatomy of the Rabbit

To go along with the book on flora last week came a fauna book from the Biblio-Mat that was the antithesis of arts and crafts, or entertainment for that matter.

Would hate to see the Impractical Anatomy of the Rabbit.
At 293 pages, Practical Anatomy of the Rabbit by B. A. Bensley was a brick of a textbook that managed to suck the adorableness out of rabbits. Published in 1931, the book had a nice forest green cloth cover with the title only on the spine, as was the style of textbooks. Interestingly enough, the inside cover was signed ‘Murray Buchman’ four times in pencil and ink in four different writing styles, which leads one to believe that the guy had issues committing to a signature or was unfortunate enough to repeat this subject four times in university.

Maybe a sucker for punishment?
Having one of those great fathers that buy the fancy of a child’s eye at a farmers’ market before consulting the mother first, our family ended up raising colonies of rabbits when I was a child. Like many people, my first thought about this book was that it seemed absurdly long for a simple subject. Soft fur, wild eyes, long ears, and four quick legs pretty much summed up all one needed to know about the anatomy of a rabbit but this book decided to delve into covering every aspect of the animal down to separate sections for each of the legs.

X-ray of a chocolate bunny.
Accompanied by gray-scale illustrations, the pages were deceptive in being clean and organized in layout but filled with scientific phrases and dense sentences when actually read. On a positive note, though, I was traveling to Montreal and back this weekend and the text practically secreted melatonin.

Excitement abounds!
Split into three sections that covered the general structure of the rabbit, the osteology of the rabbit, and the dissection of the rabbit, the text turned out to be an extremely thorough account of not only the rabbit, but animals in general. Covering everything from the cell structure of every organ to bone growth and classification, it was a plethora of information that appeared to be still valid after over eighty years. While it was slow at first, it did seem to pick up a bit after the first few chapters.

Halfway through the book I realized why the text had a familiar feel to it – the dissection of the rabbit was written in a way not unlike an automobile repair book. Every single piece of tissue was described along with what it fits into and what fits into it. Once that was clear, it made following the descriptions a bit easier by conjuring up visual cues. I now feel confident that if someone were to give me a pile of rabbit parts I would be able to assemble a working rabbit in much the same way I rebuilt my old Fiat Spider as this text was a shop manual for the mammal.

How hard could it be?
All in all, this book turned out to be one of the hardest reads to come out of the Biblio-Mat and one would be hard-pressed to find someone reading this without the fear of a mid-term or final providing motivation.

Book rating: 4/10 (Might as well be reading a dictionary)

Random quote: “At the dorsal border of the ischium, in front of the ischial tuberosity, it receives the lateral caudal and internal pudendal veins.” (I’m an English major and understood less than 20% of these words)


  1. perhaps for a veterinary student or ag major in universery....?

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