Objective To review the deployment and potential of these instructional aids in the learning of anatomy. Methods A review of published literature from medicine, adult education, radiology, clinical anatomy, social medicine and pedagogy journals was conducted employing the search strategies of Mesh (medical subject heading) and 'Text word searching' using Pub-med, Google, Bing, Mozilla, Meva and Science Direct search engines. Once the key article was identified, it was probed further into the text for 'reference list' harvesting. Similarly, 'related articles' feature was searched. Various electronic journals and digital libraries were scanned including British Medical Library, National Library of Medicine, Embase, Cochrane, Directory of open access journals, open J gate, Indian database and Gray literature database. Hard cover books and journals from Jazan medical library of Saudi Arabia were searched for related content. Publications older than the year 1972 were excluded from literature review. Results A total of 800 articles spanning across 1972 till 2011 were scanned. A total of 180 articles met the inclusion criteria based on their context relevance with respect to the different methods used in anatomy instruction and their pedagogic significance. Conclusion Improvements in technology have increased the ways in which anatomy information can be stored, displayed and transferred. While the understanding of the human body underlies much of medical education, the demand for educational programs in gross anatomy has substantially changed within the past years. Today, along with the age old 'traditional cadaveric dissection', there are numerous alternative resources available to demonstrate anatomy, like digital computer programs, surgical prosections, plastinations, anatomy models and scanned image banks.