Send to

Choose Destination
Anat Rec B New Anat. 2004 Jan;276(1):3-7.

A social biography of Carnegie embryo no. 836.

Author information

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Holyoke College, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075-1426, USA.


A tiny, sectioned embryo specimen known as Carnegie no. 836 has served as the prototype for Stage 13 (28-32 days) since the 1910s. Recently digitalized and reanimated for the 21st century, this singular specimen is now being used to develop 3D and 4D visualizations. Yet the social origins of the specimen have been largely forgotten. This essay traces the biography of 836 from its origins in a young woman's life, through sectioning and transformation into a scientific specimen, to its contemporary manifestations as a symbol of life. By reuniting the specimen with its story, we can appreciate how cultural attitudes toward embryo specimens have changed over the past century.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center