Background Facts

Anatomical Terminology

What is the function of the body cavities?

The body cavities house and protect the internal organs. There are two main body cavities: the dorsal cavity and the ventral cavity. The dorsal or posterior cavity contains the cranial cavity and the spinal cavity. The cranial cavity houses and protects the brain, while the spinal cavity houses and protects the spinal cord.

The ventral or anterior cavity is separated into the thoracic cavity and abdominopelvic cavity. The thoracic cavity contains the heart and lungs. It is protected by the rib cage. The abdominopelvic cavity is further divided into the abdominal cavity and the pelvic cavity. The stomach, intestines, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, and kidneys are in the abdominal cavity. The urinary bladder, internal reproductive organs, sigmoid colon, and rectum are in the pelvic cavity.


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