The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
Image of the Week #65, October 24th, 2012: The Urine Wheel by Christina Agapakis at Oscillator. Source: Epiphanie Medicorum by Ullrich Pinder in 1506 What did doctors in the 16th century know about health and metabolism? If you're tempted to smirk and say not much, perhaps you should think again. Since the Ancient Greeks, it has been known that the products of our metabolism can be evaluated through the contents of our excrement. This Urine Wheel from Epiphanie Medicorum by Ullrich Pinder was published in 1506. It details the array of smells, colors, and tastes (yes, tastes!) of urine that are indicative of various diseases and conditions. So while you may dismiss your excrement each morning with a flippant flush, know that if you were so inclined, you could glean more than a little knowledge about your overall health by instead sampling a tad. Thankfully, with modern technology, tasting it is no longer necessary!