Anatomy: the study of external and internal structures and the relationships between body parts, providing
clues about function and physiology. Anatomical features are what undergo physiological processes and the
careful observation of the human body
Physiology: the study of how body functions and the study of mechanisms in the body
There are different types of anatomy
o Microscopic Anatomy: also called fine anatomy, considers structures that require magnification to be
seen. This can be subdivided into
Cytology to analyze the internal structure of cells
Histology to analyze tissues and groups of specialized cells, which work together to function.
o Gross/ Macroscopic Anatomy: doesn’t require the use of magnification equipment, focuses on groups
of tissues that work together to form organs. This can be divided in
Surface anatomy: to focus on morphology and superficial structures or anatomical markings
Regional anatomy: focusing on superficial and internal (deep) structures of parts of the body
(ex. head or abdomen)
Systemic anatomy: which focuses on the anatomy of organ systems (digestive system,
Other Perspectives on Anatomy
Developmental Anatomy: examines changes in form that occur from the time of conception to maturity. The
size of what is being looked at therefore ranges from a single cell to a whole organism.
Embryology: studies the early developmental stages in depth.
Comparative Anatomy: focuses on the anatomical organization of different animals to compare them for
evolutionary relationships. This combines microscopic, gross, and developmental anatomy.
Clinical Anatomy: focuses on anatomical features that may undergo pathological changes during illness.
Surgical Anatomy: studied anatomical landmarks important for surgical procedures. • Radiographic Anatomy:
involves the study of anatomical structures as seen in x-rays, ultrasounds, or other scans.
Cross-Sectional Anatomy: a type of gross anatomy, looking at sections of the body as seen in CT scans and
other radio-imaging procedures etc.
Biological Levels of Organization
Biological Level of Organization: there are 5 different levels at which anatomy can be studied and which also may
Chemical and Molecular Level (simple): where elements H, O, C, and N make up 99% of the atoms in the body,
and these interact to form molecules with certain properties such as water, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates.
Cellular Level: includes cells, which contain organelles made up of complex chemicals. The structure, function,
and interaction of the cell and its organelles with each other are involved. Ex. muscle cells
Tissue Level: where cells work together and with the same function, making up tissues that can be a part of
organs. Ex. cardiac muscle tissue
Organ Level: where the function of an organ depends on the tissues that make it up, the molecules that are
involved within the cells of these tissues working together. These organs can also work together to produce
Organ systems: Ex. the heart, which is part of the cardiorespiratory, cardiovascular, and lymphatic systems. Organismal Level: where all organ systems are vital to living and a problem at any of the lower levels can affect
the organism. NOTE: problems associated with lower levels can affect the function of higher levels, therefore
anything that affects a system will affect it at all levels in some way.
Levels of Organization of Organ Systems:
Humans are composed of 11 organ systems.
Organism levels: All of the organ systems must work together for a person to remain alive and healthy
Organ system level: (cardiovascular system): The cardiovascular system includes the heart, the blood and the
Organ level: (heart) the heart is a complex 3 dimensional organ
Tissue level: cardian muscle tissue constitutes the bulk of the walls of the heart
Cellular level: cardiac muscle tissue is formed from interlocking heart muscles
Chemical or molecular levels: heart muscle cells contain within them contractile protein fibred. These complex
contractile protein fibres are organized from moleculues. Moleculues are formed from interacting atoms.
Integumentary System: protection from environmental hazards; temperature control
Skeletal System: support, protection of soft tissues, mineral storage; blood formation
Muscular System: locomotion, support, heat production
Nervous System: directing immediate responses to stimuli, usually by coordinating the activities
of other organ systems
Endocrine System: directing long term changes in the activities of other organ systems
Cardiovascular System: internal transport of cells and dissolved materials, including nutrients,
wastes, and gases
Lymphoid System: defense against infection and disease
Respiratory System: delivery of air to sites where gas exchange can occur between the air and
Digestive System: Processing of food and absorption of organzi nutrients, minerals, vitamins
Urinary System: elimination of excess water, salts, and waste products, control of pH
Reproductive System: production of sex cells and hormones
The Language of Anatomy
Superficial Anatomy: the terms are typically derived from Latin or Green. These languages are
used because they are descriptive languages. Superficial refers to the outside of the body
Anatomical Position: The hands are at the side, the palms facing forward. All discussion of the
human body is in reference to the anatomical position.
o Supine: lying down (face up) in the anatomical position
o Prone: lying down (face down) in the anatomical position
Homeostasis: the maintenance of the internal environment to a stable state or between narrow
limits by a feedback loop. Organisms contain homeostatic mechanisms, which regulate external
changes one may encounter along with changes occurring internally. Failure to maintain this
results in disease, which can affect cells, tissues, organs, or organ systems requiring medication,
medical assistance (ex. surgery), or body defenses to overcome.
Responsiveness: also known as irritability, how all organisms respond to changes in their
environment. Organisms can also make long-term adjustments for larger/longer changes in the
environment. The ability to respond is known as adaptability.
Differentiation: as all organisms grow, they increase in size and number of cells, therefore some
cells must become specialized by differentiating to carry out a new function in the body. NOTE: all organisms also undergo reproduction, internal movement (ex. blood, food), external
movement (movement), and metabolize/excrete wastes.
Metabolism: all chemical activities being carried out in the body, where catabolism is the
breakdown of molecules into simpler ones the body can use, and where anabolism is the
synthesis of more complex molecules from simpler ones. This requires materials such as
nutrients to be absorbed from the environment to be transported to cells to be used. Waste
products of these processes can be excreted.
Supine: when the person is lying face up in the anatomical position. Opposite of prone, which is
when the person is lying face down in the anatomical position.
Frons: Forehead Lumbus: Loin/lower back
Cranium: Skull Pelvis: Pelvic
Facies: Face Carpus: Wrist
Cephalon: Head (skull and face) Manus: Hand
Nasus: Nose Palma: Palm
Oculus: Eyes Digits: Fingers/Toes/Phalanges
Auris: Ears Pollex: Thumb
Bucca: Cheeks Inguen: Groin
Oris: Oral/Mouth Pubis: Pubic
Mentis: Chin Gluteus: Buttocks
Cervicis: Neck Femur: Thigh
Shoulder: Acromial Patella: Front of knee
Thoracis: Chest/thorax Popliteus: Back of knee
Dorsum: back/dorsal Crus: Shin
Axilla: Armpit Sura: Calf
Brachium: Arm Tarsus: Ankle
Antecubitus: Front of elbow Calcaneus: Heel
Olecranon: Back of elbow Hallux: Big toe
Antebrachium: Forearm Pes: foot
Abdominopelvic Quadrants: Anatomists and clinicians use specialized regional terms to indicate
a specific area of concern within the abdomen or the pelvic regions of the body. The abdomen
and pelvic regions can be subdivided into four regions (abdominopelvic quadrants) which includes the right and left upper quadrants and the right and left lower quadrants, separated
with an imaginary cross at the umbilicus:
o RUQ: includes the right kidney, right lobe of liver, gallbladder, part of stomach, small
and large intestine.
o LUQ: includes left kidney, left lobe of liver, stomach, pancreas, spleen, large intestine.
o RLQ: includes caecum, appendix, small and large intestine, right side of reproductive
organs (right ovary in female and right spermatic cord in male), right ureter.
o LLQ: includes small and large intestine, left side of reproductive organs (left ovary in
female, and left spermatic cord in male), left ureter.
Abdominopelvic Regions: the abdomen and pelvic regions can be subdivided into nine regions:
including the right and left hypochondriac, the epigastric, the right and left lumbar region, the
umbilical region, the right and left inguinal region, and the hypogastric region.
o Anterior: also known as rostral, referring to locations towards the nose of the organism.
o Posterior: also known as caudal, referring to locations towards the tail of the organism.
o Dorsal: also known as superior, referring to locations towards the top/back.
o Ventral: also known as inferior or basal, referring to locations the bottom/belly.
o Cranial: referring to the head, towards the head. Also called cephalic.
o Superior: above, at a high level. Towards the head in humans.
o Inferior: below, at a low level, Towards the tail in humans.
o Medial: referring to structures of the body that are closest to the midline
o Lateral: referring to structures of the body that are furthest from the midline. In
addition, structures that are found on the same side of the body are ipsilateral and
those found on opposite sides are contralateral.
o Proximal: towards the attached base, in reference to another body part.
o Distal: away from an attached base, in reference to another body part.
o Superficial: towards the surface of the skin.
o Deep: away from the skin’s surface.
Anatomical Planes of Section: there are three planes of the body which are perpendicular to
each other in by which sections can be cut:
o Sagittal Plane: refers to the plane that cuts the body into left and right halves. This can
be along the midline, which is midsagittal, or off-centered which is parasagittal.
o Frontal Plane: also known as the coronal plane, refers to the plane that cuts the body
into anterior and posterior halves and is perpendicular to the ground.
o Horizontal Plane: also known as the transverse plane, refers to the plane that cuts the
body into superior and inferior halves and is parallel to the ground.
There are many different ways to dissect a piece of tissue for further study. These are referred
to as dissectional cuts or d