Chapter 1
The Human Body: An Orientation
13
1
Commonly used orientation and directional terms are de-
fined and illustrated in Table 1.1. Many of these terms are also
used in everyday conversation, but keep in mind as you study
them that their anatomical meanings are very precise.
Regional Terms
±e two fundamental divisions of our body are its
axial
and
appendicular
(ap
0
en-dik
9
u-lar) parts. ±e
axial part
,
which makes up the main
axis
of our body, includes the
head, neck, and trunk. ±e
appendicular part
consists of
the
appendages
, or
limbs
, which are attached to the body’s
axis.
Regional terms
used to designate specific areas within
these major body divisions are indicated in Figure 1.7. ±e
common terms for a few of these body regions are given in
parentheses.
Cervical
Cervical
Back (dorsal)
(a) Anterior/Ventral
(b) Posterior/Dorsal
Pubic
(genital)
Cephalic
Frontal
Orbital
Nasal
Oral
Mental
Thoracic
Sternal
Axillary
Mammary
Scapular
Vertebral
Lumbar
Sacral
Gluteal
Perineal (between
anus and external
genitalia)
Abdominal
Umbilical
Pelvic
Inguinal
(groin)
Upper limb
Acromial
Brachial (arm)
Antecubital
Olecranal
Antebrachial
(forearm)
Carpal (wrist)
Manus (hand)
Pollex
Metacarpal
Palmar
Digital
Lower limb
Coxal (hip)
Femoral (thigh)
Patellar
Popliteal
Crural (leg)
Sural (calf)
Fibular or peroneal
Pedal (foot)
Tarsal (ankle)
Calcaneal
Metatarsal
Digital
Plantar
Hallux
Cephalic
Otic
Occipital (back
of head)
Thorax
Abdomen
Back (Dorsum)
Figure 1.7
Regional terms used to designate specific body areas. (a)
The anatomical position.
(b)
The heels are raised to show the plantar surface of the foot, which is actually on the inferior
surface of the body.
forward and the thumbs point away from the body. You can see
the anatomical position in
Table 1.1
(top) and
Figure 1.7a
.
It is essential to understand the anatomical position be-
cause most of the directional terms used in this book refer
to the body
as if it were in this position, regardless of its actual
position
. Another point to remember is that the terms “right”
and “le²” refer to those sides of the person or the cadaver
(body of a deceased person) being viewed—not those of the
observer.
Directional terms
allow us to explain where one body struc-
ture is in relation to another. For example, we could describe the
relationship between the ears and the nose informally by stat-
ing, “±e ears are located on each side of the head to the right
and le² of the nose.” Using anatomical terminology, we can con-
dense this to “±e ears are lateral to the nose.” Using anatomical
terms saves words and is less ambiguous.
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