Corpses depicted in anatomical and mortuary literature are imbued with the same notion of androgyny as other types of corpses such as Egyptian mummies preserved in the course of religious ceremonies and corpses naturally preserved for long periods of time due to environmental circumstances such as the Northern European bog bodies. As life leaves the body behind, so does gender. After death, the body becomes an object, a cadaver (from the Latin cadere meaning “to fall”) which travels, in some form, back to the dust from which it came. While life represents a journey filled with the search for completion, for the missing half of our incomplete souls, death represents a retreat from this quest. The nurses, doctors and morticians accordingly prepare the body by purifying, cleansing, and literally removing the organs responsible for reproduction, along with the other organs, prior to burial.
Autposies are less routinely carried out today than they were in the past few centuries. The autopsy can be seen as the father of modern genetic research. Just as malformities and diseases are now being associated with specific genes, forensic practices have been developed to trace anatomical peculiarities with specific life shortening sicknesses. Autopsies are part of the larger perpetual search for immortality; the ability to create or engineer the perfect human being who is immune to the effects of time and ultimately the need to procreate.