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Dissection and examination of a dead body to determine cause of death and learn about disease processes in ways that are not possible with the living. Autopsies have contributed to the development of medicine since at least the Middle Ages. Beyond revealing causes of individual deaths, autopsy is crucial to the accuracy of disease and death statistics, the education of medical students, the understanding of new and changing diseases, and the advancement of medical science.
Variants of AUTOPSY
autopsy or necropsy or postmortem
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on autopsy, visit Britannica.com.