On one photo, published by the Blick newspaper, a female intern is seen holding up a severed human arm above the caption: “Greetings from Zurich University Irchel.” Irchel is the site of the anatomical collection.
The text below reads: “Let’s all give a hand to the hard working lab stiffs at the Uni!”
The university has expressed regret over the incident that happened in July. It described the action of the American anatomical institute worker as “unacceptable, disrespectful and depraved”, the newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported.
In a statement the university said there was a ban on taking photographs in the part of the collection not open to the public. Both workers involved had known about the rule and had been reprimanded for their behaviour.
The two workers involved – an American graphic designer and a woman intern – no longer work at the university.
There were fewer than five photos in all posted on Instagram, a photo platform where users can share their favourite pictures, according to university spokeswoman Nathalie Huber.
She said the university had removed these several days after they were posted when it found out about them.
The American graphic artist was employed to help out at the institute. The female worker had been on a one-month internship as part of her medical dissection studies.
The university said work with dissected body parts was an important element of medical training. Around 70 bodies are donated every year for medical science by families of deceased.
“It would be a great pity if this were to change because of one case of inappropriate behaviour,” Huber said.