Brain and Behavior

Basic Concepts in Neuroscience

How do the Latin terms differ from the English ones?

The English terms are purely directional while the Latin ones are defined in reference to the body. Rostral and caudal are the Latin words for head and tail. Likewise, dorsal and ventral refer to the back and belly of a body (as in the dorsal fin of a shark). Medial means close to the body’s midline while lateral means away from it. Nonetheless, when we speak about the brain, rostral and caudal are generally understood to mean front and back, dorsal and ventral to mean top and bottom, and medial and lateral to mean inside and outside.


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