Chapter One Introduction


When studying the human body it is important to place the body in anatomical position. Anatomical position is described as the body facing you, feet placed together and flat on the floor. The head is held erect, arms straight by the side with palms facing forward. All references to the body are made as if the body is in this position so when you describe something as being above something else it is always with respect to the body being in anatomical position.

The relative position of the parts of the human body has specific terms. Superior means above while inferior means below. Medial refers to being close to the midline while lateral means to the side. Anterior or ventral is to the front while posterior or dorsal is to the back. Superficial is near the surface while deep means to the core of the body. When working with the limbs, proximal means closer to the trunk while distal is to the ends of the extremities. Write the directional terms in the spaces provided and color in the arrows in reference to these terms. Note that these terms are somewhat different for four legged animals.

Anatomical Directional Terms



J '/


! / K

Dorsal Ventral Position

Answer Key: a. Superior, b. Inferior, c. Lateral, d. Medial, e. Proximal, f. Distal, g. Anatomical position, h. Posterior, i. Anterior, j. Dorsal, k. Ventral

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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