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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Demonstrate the anatomical position
  • Describe the human body using directional and regional terms
  • Identify three planes most commonly used in the study of anatomy
  • Distinguish between the posterior (dorsal) and the anterior (ventral) body cavities, identifying their subdivisions and representative organs found in each
  • Describe serous membrane and explain its function

Anatomists and health care providers use terminology that can be bewildering to the uninitiated. However, the purpose of this language is not to confuse, but rather to increase precision and reduce medical errors. For example, is a scar “above the wrist” located on the forearm two or three inches away from the hand? Or is it at the base of the hand? Is it on the palm-side or back-side? By using precise anatomical terminology, we eliminate ambiguity. Anatomical terms derive from ancient Greek and Latin words. Because these languages are no longer used in everyday conversation, the meaning of their words does not change.

Anatomical terms are made up of roots, prefixes, and suffixes. The root of a term often refers to an organ, tissue, or condition, whereas the prefix or suffix often describes the root. For example, in the disorder hypertension, the prefix “hyper-” means “high” or “over,” and the root word “tension” refers to pressure, so the word “hypertension” refers to abnormally high blood pressure.

Anatomical position

To further increase precision, anatomists standardize the way in which they view the body. Just as maps are normally oriented with north at the top, the standard body “map,” or anatomical position    , is that of the body standing upright, with the feet at shoulder width and parallel, toes forward. The upper limbs are held out to each side, and the palms of the hands face forward as illustrated in [link] . Using this standard position reduces confusion. It does not matter how the body being described is oriented, the terms are used as if it is in anatomical position. For example, a scar in the “anterior (front) carpal (wrist) region” would be present on the palm side of the wrist. The term “anterior” would be used even if the hand were palm down on a table.

Regions of the human body

This illustration shows an anterior and posterior view of the human body. The cranial region encompasses the upper part of the head while the facial region encompasses the lower half of the head beginning below the ears. The eyes are referred to as the ocular region. The cheeks are referred to as the buccal region. The ears are referred to as the auricle or otic region. The nose is referred to as the nasal region. The chin is referred to as the mental region. The neck is referred to as the cervical region. The trunk of the body contains, from superior to inferior, the thoracic region encompassing the chest, the mammary region encompassing each breast, the abdominal region encompassing the stomach area, the coxal region encompassing the belt line, and the pubic region encompassing the area above the genitals. The umbilicus, or naval, is located at the center of the abdomen. The pelvis and legs contain, from superior to inferior, the inguinal or groin region between the legs and the genitals, the pubic region surrounding the genitals, the femoral region encompassing the thighs, the patellar region encompassing the knee, the crural region encompassing the lower leg, the tarsal region encompassing the ankle, the pedal region encompassing the foot and the digital/phalangeal region encompassing the toes. The great toe is referred to as the hallux. The regions of the upper limbs, from superior to inferior, are the axillary region encompassing the armpit, the brachial region encompassing the upper arm, the antecubital region encompassing the front of the elbow, the antebrachial region encompassing the forearm, the carpal region encompassing the wrist, the palmar region encompassing the palm, and the digital/phalangeal region encompassing the fingers. The thumb is referred to as the pollux. The posterior view contains, from superior to inferior, the cervical region encompassing the neck, the dorsal region encompassing the upper back and the lumbar region encompassing the lower back. The regions of the back of the arms, from superior to inferior, include the cervical region encompassing the neck, acromial region encompassing the shoulder, the brachial region encompassing the upper arm, the olecranal region encompassing the back of the elbow, the antebrachial region encompasses the back of the arm, and the manual region encompassing the palm of the hand. The posterior regions of the legs, from superior to inferior, include the gluteal region encompassing the buttocks, the femoral region encompassing the thigh, the popliteus region encompassing the back of the knee, the sural region encompassing the back of the lower leg, and the plantar region encompassing the sole of the foot. Some regions are combined into larger regions. These include the trunk, which is a combination of the thoracic, mammary, abdominal, naval, and coxal regions. The cephalic region is a combination of all of the head regions. The upper limb region is a combination of all of the arm regions. The lower limb region is a combination of all of the leg regions.
The human body is shown in anatomical position in an (a) anterior view and a (b) posterior view. The regions of the body are labeled in boldface.

A body that is lying down is described as either prone or supine. Prone describes a face-down orientation, and supine    describes a face up orientation. These terms are sometimes used in describing the position of the body during specific physical examinations or surgical procedures.

Regional terms

The human body’s numerous regions have specific terms to help increase precision (see [link] ). Notice that the term “brachium” or “arm” is reserved for the “upper arm” and “antebrachium” or “forearm” is used rather than “lower arm.” Similarly, “femur” or “thigh” is correct, and “leg” or “crus” is reserved for the portion of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle. You will be able to describe the body’s regions using the terms from the figure.

Questions & Answers

how many litres of blood does a human body have
George Reply
what is homeostasis
Antwi Reply
it is self regulating ability of the body to adjust to the surroundings
Angela
it is like maintaining an equilibrium type of environment between the inside and outside of the body, so that our body can adjust to the external environmental changes
Angela
this is the negative feedback loop of the body,.... that naturally helps to keep the body in a stable or constant internal environment.
Matthew
this is the activities in the body that keeps the internal environment of the body in equilibrium or to keep it constant.
Ikenze
list four long bones
Mary Reply
the four long bones are: tibia, fibula, femur, and humerus.
Isaac
from Zambia
Mary
femur, radius , ulnar, humerus
Om
humerus, femur, tibia and fibula
Sheryl
Humerus,redius,ulnar,in hand. Femur,tibia,fibula in leg. it is long bone.
Sneha
there is contradiction between radius ulna & tibia fibula because of the variation in the upper and lower limb of the according to growth and development of human body so humerus & femur are longer bones ( ex you can see Michael phaleps upper limb is longer than the lower limb)
Prashant
if anyone having dout so he she can please explain it to me
Prashant
which one want explain something
Dr
sir post which I have send look at it & tell is it correct or not
Prashant
about four long bones is the topic
Prashant
femur, humerus, tibia and fibula
Ikenze
how are you doing
Rekah Reply
hi everyone.
AR
Im new here, I came from the philippines. I study nursing. Im a first year student.
AR
really
Isaac
so what help do you want
Isaac
yeah I came from the philippines..and I have struggle about this subject the anatomy and physiology because I dont any books that I barrowed with. I cant afford buy books.
AR
hii
Meher
I'm from India
Jamy
I struggle with this subject
Jamy
can I ask here a question I hope you can help me because I dont have any references/books that I should see or read it.
AR
AR
Meher
you are from india nice to talk to you jamy.
AR
Alright Always drop your concerns here and they will be addressed. Thanks sister.
Isaac
nice meeting with you
Jamy
I am also from India
shiv
thank you Isaac.
AR
yes Meher?
AR
you are all india
AR
By the way I have question
AR
describe a person in anatomical position?
AR
i come from Ghana
Isaac
are you all nursing students?
AR
no I'm pharmacy student
Jamy
oh nice.
AR
yes
shiv
jamy me too
Meher
yes
shiv
yes
shiv
my name is sweety
Jamy
you have any chat group that we can talk there.
AR
Anatomical position is the description of any region or part of the body in a specific stance. In the anatomical position, the body is upright, directly facing the observer, feet flat and directed forward. The upper limbs are at the body's sides with the palms facing forward. The standard anatomic
Isaac
yes
shiv
jamy is my nick name
Jamy
I am a nursing student
Isaac
thank you Isaac
AR
Final year, level 400
Isaac
ohh what year are you now?
AR
Nice
AR
welcome madam
Isaac
do you have any chat group here
AR
describe the six levels of organization of the body and describe the major characteristics of each level?
AR
ahh its okay jammy
AR
jammy i am from kashmir nd u
Meher
It is convenient to consider the structures of the body in terms of fundamental levels of organization that increase in complexity, such as (from smallest to largest): chemicals, cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and an organism.
Isaac
hi
Yaminah
am from somalia
Yaminah
5th year in medical student nice to meet ya all
Yaminah
thxs yaminah
Meher
y not.. jamy for what purpose...?
Meher
inbox me i will guide u ...?
Meher
i also dont know...?
Meher
open this app - click 'start learning' - click 'preface' - select the chat that you wanna join into I guess that is it !
Angela
Hello am from Sierra Leone
junisa
I am from Kerala
Angela
I am from india
Om
I am from Tripura
FAKE
tell the easyst way to learn anatomy
Khaliif Reply
try to draw 👌
Rahil
what
shiv
learn subject with drawing anatomy diagrams some with flow chart i dont say it is easiest way bt yes u can rember for longer period
Shakerah
ooh
shiv
hello im new here, im a nursing student
SHUGA Reply
ooh
shiv
welcome
shiv
wlcm
Rahil
dub
Ndowmi
maleria
Ndowmi
Anopheles
shiv
welcome shuga
Om
please am new here. Am a nurse awaiting to be posted .
Ntiamoah
hi I'm new here too
faleke
Feleke Sharon Welcome
FAKE
FAKE DrLUPO thank you
faleke
hello guys
Chuks
hello guys 🤗
Sneha
hello
Chuks
whose in Nigeria
Chuks
🙋🙋
faleke
what is inner breeding
Vijay Reply
you don't have any answer
Vijay
please don't waste my time
Vijay
wait
shiv
inbreeding is mating or breeding with organism that are genetically related
shiv
s
Pankaj
who this SRY
Pankaj
inner breeding is breeding among the same species of organisms
Anna
*inbreeding
Anna
yes same speciesor same genetic organism
shiv
description of the menstruation cycle
Namyalo Reply
explain the menstruation cycle
Namyalo
explain the menstrual cycle
Ugo
menstrual cycle is came due to FSH and LH
shiv
fsh
Ndowmi
This is the periodic release of waste(blood) from the reproductive organ of the females (human) for a period of some days, after which or during then, ovulation takes place, which is the release of eggs from the ovaries for fertilization by the spermatozoa.
Ikenze
Description of menestraul cycle
Amos Reply
what is the anatomy
FAKE Reply
Anatomy is study of structure of organs.
Sneha
thanks
FAKE
The scientific study of the structure of human or animal bodies.
FAKE
I was confused as to which one would be right and I asked
FAKE
My answer and you answer both are right.
Sneha
The scientific study of the human and animal internal and external structure of the body.
Ikenze
i want to improve my study i like this app i interest physiology and anatomy
Su Reply
I also like this app am really interested in learning anatomy and physiology.
Johny
I have this book with my anatomy class it's awesome! also if look at crashcourse anatomy on you tube!
AMY
what the name
isaiah
umesh. rede
Rede
what is heart and long type answer
Lalita Reply
its a organ in the body
ay
describe about hear chambers.. valves.. arteries.. veins.. circulation.. inferior/superior venacava, aorta., tricuspid valve, mitral valve. pulmonary artery/vein, how oxigenation occur,systolic presure diastolic pressure.. stroke volume,cardiac output, ets.. heart located in which place, describe it
Sanjith
if you describe what I cited up, thogh you can write a long type answer about heart
Sanjith
hi
Riyaz
autonomic functions took over
Vanarith Reply
What did they take over?
Eric
what is the average volume of blood in men and why does it varrie from women?
Esther Reply
what is the average volume of blood in men
Esther
5to6liter
Sarita
5to6liter dt
Sarita
umesh. rede
Rede
estimated at 5.5litres
Ikenze
what is the definition of anatomy
Noriah Reply
Search google
killer
^of
chieng
The study of the structure or internal workings of something. "Machiavelli's anatomy 
Eric

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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