Footnote 41:

Two revisions in the 1555 edition, where Vesalius qualifies his statement “a recently dead human body,” and adds to his parenthesis “as if prepared for inspection of the bones,” support the inference that Vesalius is thinking of a passage near the beginning of De anatomicis administrandis: “Once a river, inundating a recent hastily made grave, broke it up, washing away the body. The flesh had putrefied, though the bones still held together in their proper relations. It was carried down a stade and, reaching marshy ground, drifted ashore. This skeleton was as though deliberately prepared for such elementary teaching. And on another occasion we saw the skeleton of a brigand, lying on rising ground a little off the road. He had been killed by some traveller repelling his attack. The inhabitants would not bury him, glad enough to see his body consumed by the birds which, in a couple of days, ate his flesh, leaving the skeleton as if for demonstration.” (2.221, tr. Singer 1956, p. 3). But even with the 1555 revisions, Vesalius is more rhetorical than accurate, as Galen says in this passage that he had seen bodies from graves pa/nu polla/kij, “quite often,” 2.221.3.