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Featured Resource - 2007 No. 105

Past Issues

Primal Pictures


What is Primal Pictures?

Primal Pictures is a 3D interactive human anatomy program, available by license at the University of Vermont through Ovid Technologies.  This innovative resource offers a vast gallery of brilliant images of the human body, from head to toe!   The 3D models can be manipulated to add and subtract anatomic layers, modified to display arteries, veins, and nerves, and rotated 360 degrees, incrementally or continuously.  Special modules for available for surgery, therapy, sports injuries, chiropractic, and acupuncture, making Primal Pictures an ideal reference for surgeons, radiologists, nurses, physical therapists, and many other health care professionals.  A complete human anatomy study guide with interactive quizzes and a test bank make it an invaluable review and study tool for residents and students.


How to Access to Primal Pictures

  • Go to Dana Medical Library's homepage
  • Click on the link for Ovid under Databases & E-Books. 
  • Click on Primal Pictures (first item listed.)
  • To access Primal Pictures from off-campus, you must be a UVM or University of Vermont Medical Center faculty, staff, or student.  See the Connect from Off-Campus link on the Dana Medical Library homepage for details.
  • Unaffiliated patrons may use Primal Pictures on site at Dana Medical Library. 

Exploring Primal Pictures

From the Primal Pictures welcome page, select one of the over 20 different modules:

For example, check out the Interactive Knee-Version 1.1 module:


  • The module opens to an overview of the knee and its surrounding structures, beginning at Layer 14.  The default Low Quality setting enables faster loading.

  • To change to a different model, such as Patella or Tibial plateau and meniscii, click on the drop-down box directly below the image. 

  • Rotate the 3D model by using the arrow buttons immediately below the image.  To rotate continuously, click on the double arrows.  To rotate in stepwise fashion, click on the single arrows. 

  • Add or strip away anatomical layers, from Deep to Superficial, using the left and right arrows.  To jump layers or to view arteries, veins, nerves, and other views, click on the Layer drop-down box. 

  • Click on any anatomical structure within the image to display the relevant text.

  • Zoom in or out to change the image size. 

  • Click the MRI tab to view the corresponding MRI sub-module.  You can select layers and rotate the MRI model, much like the anatomic model.

  • Click the Contents tab to view the entire contents of that module.  You can also search within the module using the search box.

Special Features

  • The Surgery editions have tabs for:
    • anatomy
    • surgery
    • biomechanics
    • radiology
      • each of these tabs have a corresponding bank of images and movies (pop-ups must be enabled)
  • The Interactive Functional Anatomy module includes a tab for Patient Information, covering common ailments such as:
    • De Quervain's syndrome
    • patellar tendonitis
    • whiplash
    • myofacial pain syndrome.
  • The Complete Human Anatomy Study Guide is an comprehensive online textbook, broken down into chapters, complete with abundant graphics and tables.

For more information about using Primal Pictures, or any other online resource at Dana Medical Library:

  • Contact a reference librarian for personalized assistance:
    • in person, at the reference desk, Mon-Friday 10:00am -4:00 pm,
    • by phone, at 802-656-2201
    • or send an email to danaref@uvm.edu.


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Dana Medical Library, University of Vermont

Medical Education Center, 81 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05405-0068

phone (802)656-2200 - fax (802)656-0762