Have you ever had the curiosity to learn more about the human body?

If you answered “Yes”, maybe you ambitiously bought an anatomy textbook, or eagerly searched online for human anatomy images.

The challenge is that using an anatomy textbook can often be overwhelming because of too much detailed information. When searching online, you only get bits and pieces of the human anatomy puzzle, with no free resources that present an accurate and helpful picture.

In December 2010, Google engineers quietly addressed this challenge by creating a free 3D human anatomy web application that can only be described as brilliant. The last several months this web application was taken down, but just this week Zygote Body (formerly called Google Body) became active again.

Here’s a guide that will show you how to best use Zygote Body, which reveals the beauty and complexity of the human body in a fun and engaging way.

Zygote Body Feature #1 | Gender

If you have ever wondered how men and women are different anatomically, the ability to view a male or female model will allow you to easily see the differences.

Zygote Body Feature #2 | Analyze the Human Body Systems

The core feature of Zygote Body is the ability to virtually dissect the body starting from what is most superficial from the skin, muscles, and bones all the way down to veins and nerves. A horizontal bar on the left hand side menu allows you to scroll upward and downward to make the complex task of dissection a breeze in a bloodless and seamless way.

On the bottom of the left hand menu is the ability to separate out the various human body systems for further analysis. Here is an example of how you can dissect the body:

Zygote Body Feature #3 | Zoom Control

While the ability to virtually dissect the human body effortlessly is remarkable, the detail with which you can view the human model is simply breathtaking. You are able to see anything from striations in the muscles, to separation between muscles, to the precise sizes and shapes of the various organs. Simply use your mouse scroll, or press the + and – signs on the top left side of the bar to zoom in and out.

Zygote Body Feature #4 | Rotation

Not only can you easily zoom in and out as you analyze the various body parts, but you can rotate the figure with ease simply by dragging your mouse across the screen. The combination of the zoom, rotation, and dissection make this application incredibly fun and easy to use.

Zygote Body Feature #5 | Identify Any Body Part

As you are exploring the human body, if you want to know the name of a body part you see, all you have to do is click on it. In this example I clicked on the sternum:

Zygote Body Feature #6 | Pin Any Body Part

If there is one body part you want to focus on, you can click the pin icon after clicking that body part. As you further dissect the model, the body part you pinned stays clearly on the screen. This allows for an amazing spatial awareness of various body parts relative to each other that simply is not possible in an anatomy textbook, no matter how skilled the artist. In this example I pinned the right lung:

Zygote Body Feature #7 | Search Bar

Is there a certain body part you want to analyze quickly? Just use the search bar, which automatically zooms on that body part. In this example, I’m searching for “heart”:

Zygote Body Wish List

  • Add more descriptive information for each body part – While an anatomy textbook can quickly overwhelm even the most eager of learners, adding more information to Zygote Body could be done in a way that does not ruin the easy, seamless experience. Just adding a couple overlay links for more information on let’s say a muscle’s origin, insertion, and action along with the function of the various organs would be an amazing touch. Yes, the application is free, but it’s on my wish list.
  • Mobile App – This is likely to come out soon and was available shortly after the original launch, but as of now it’s not available in the Android Marketplace.
  • I hope that Zygote Body can be a helpful resource for you, or simply spark your fascination with the human body. It’s an exceptional engineering achievement that is very useful!



    1. profile avatar
      John Leyva Mar 29, 2012 - 09:56 #

      Wow, I hadn’t heard of this but it’s awesome to know of. I was actually going to purchase software that describes exactly what Zygote does. Thanks for the write up and the information.

    2. profile avatar
      Hank Mar 30, 2012 - 14:06 #

      Awesome concept and amazing help for understanding anatomy. Makes a great deal of sense for anyone serious about health and fitness.

    3. profile avatar
      Steve Mar 30, 2012 - 16:31 #

      I can’t seem to find it Marc, is it an apple app or an android?

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 30, 2012 - 18:12 #

        @Steve – It’s a web app, the mobile version is not available yet, but should be soon! http://www.zygotebody.com

    4. profile avatar
      Lorna Third Mar 31, 2012 - 08:18 #

      Excellent- can see it being a very usefull resource for my sports massage anatomy and physiology side of my education! thanks!

    5. profile avatar
      Vix Mar 31, 2012 - 23:01 #

      Hi Marc

      This app looks great. However I have been using iMuscle from Nova on my iPad for quite some time now and I absolutely love it. You can even create workouts based on the muscles you want to use and it has shows if the muscles in questons will be primary or secondary muscles used in that particular exercise.

      it has definitely made a difference in my routine. Take a look at it and tell me what you think…

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 01, 2012 - 12:17 #

        Thanks for sharing Vix. I should probably do a profile on that app. I have used it before and I think it’s solid. The Zygote Body app is a heavier emphasis on the entire human anatomy, but imuscle is more relevant to training/muscle actions.

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