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Anatomy (from the Greek word anatome,"dissection"), is a branch of natural science

dealing with the structural organization of living things. It is an old science, having
its beginnings in prehistoric times. For centuries anatomical knowledge consisted
largely of observations of dissected plants and animals. The proper understanding
of structure, however, implies a knowledge of function in the living organism.
Anatomy is therefore almost inseparable from physiology, which is sometimes
called functional anatomy. As one of the basic life sciences, anatomy is closely
related to medicine and to other branches of biology.

It is convenient to subdivide the study of anatomy in several different ways. One

classification is based on the type of organisms studied, the major subdivisions
being plant anatomy and animal anatomy. Animal anatomy is further subdivided
into human anatomy (which we cover in detail) and comparative anatomy, which
seeks out similarities and differences among animal types. Anatomy can also be
subdivided into biological processes—for example, developmental anatomy, the
study of embryos, and pathological anatomy, the study of diseased organs. Other
subdivisions, such as surgical anatomy and anatomical art, are based on the
relationship of anatomy to other branches of activity under the general heading of
applied anatomy. Still another way to subdivide anatomy is by the techniques
employed—for example, microanatomy, which concerns itself with observations
made with the help of the microscope (see the section below on the history of

Aerodynamics: the study of the motion of gas on objects and the forces created

Anatomy: the study of the structure and organization of living things

Anthropology: the study of human cultures both past and present

Archaeology: the study of the material remains of cultures

Astronomy: the study of celestial objects in the universe

Astrophysics: the study of the physics of the universe

Bacteriology: the study of bacteria in relation to disease

Biochemistry: the study of the organic chemistry of compounds and processes

occurring in organisms

Biophysics: the application of theories and methods of the physical sciences to

questions of biology

Biology: the science that studies living organisms

Botany: the scientific study of plant life

Chemical Engineering: the application of science, mathematics, and economics to

the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable

Chemistry: the science of matter and its interactions with energy and itself

Climatology: the study of climates and investigations of its phenomena and causes

Computer Science: the systematic study of computing systems and computation

Ecology: the study of how organisms interact with each other and their environment

Electronics: science and technology of electronic phenomena

Engineering: the practical application of science to commerce or industry

Entomology: the study of insects

Environmental Science: the science of the interactions between the physical,

chemical, and biological components of the environment

Forestry: the science of studying and managing forests and plantations, and related
natural resources

Genetics: the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms

Geology: the science of the Earth, its structure, and history

Marine Biology: the study of animal and plant life within saltwater ecosystems

Mathematics: a science dealing with the logic of quantity and shape and

Medicine: the science concerned with maintaining health and restoring it by treating

Meteorology: study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and


Microbiology: the study of microorganisms, including viruses, prokaryotes and

simple eukaryotes
Mineralogy: the study of the chemistry, crystal structure, and physical (including
optical) properties of minerals

Molecular Biology: the study of biology at a molecular level

Nuclear Physics: the branch of physics concerned with the nucleus of the atom

Neurology: the branch of medicine dealing with the nervous system and its

Oceanography: study of the earth's oceans and their interlinked ecosystems and
chemical and physical processes

Organic Chemistry: the branch of chemistry dedicated to the study of the

structures, synthesis, and reactions of carbon-containing compounds

Ornithology: the study of birds

Paleontology: the study of life-forms existing in former geological time periods

Petrology: the geological and chemical study of rocks

Physics: the study of the behavior and properties of matter

Physiology: the study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of

living organisms

Radiology: the branch of medicine dealing with the applications of radiant energy,
including x-rays and radioisotopes

Seismology: the study of earthquakes and the movement of waves through the

Taxonomy: the science of classification of animals and plants

Thermodynamics: the physics of energy, heat, work, entropy and the spontaneity of

Zoology: the study of animals

Anatomical body position

The international standard anatomical position is the position that provides a reference point for
describing the structures of the human body. In this position, the body is standing erect with
good posture and the face is looking directly forward in a normal manner. The feet are together
about 6 inches apart, flat on the floor and the toes pointing forward. The arms are down at the
sides with the palms turned forward with the thumb side of the hand away from the body. When
the body is lying face down in the anatomical position, this is called the prone position. When
the body is lying face up, this is called the supine position.

Planes of the body

Anatomists also divide the body into planes to facilitate discussion. These are the coronal or
frontal plane, the sagittal, midsagittal or median sagittal, and the transverse or horizontal plane.
These planes are defined using the anatomical position as a reference point. The coronal or
frontal section divides the body lengthwise from anterior to posterior and side to side. When the
body is divided into the coronal plane, the anterior of the face, trunk and legs would be separated
from the posterior. The sagittal plane bisects the left and right sides of the body longitudinally.
This plane runs down the center of the head, torso, and between the legs and feet. A midsagittal
or median sagittal section evenly divides the body along the median plane, while a parasagittal
division is parallel to a midsagittal division. The transverse or horizontal plane ru

Medical Definition of Coelom1. An internal fluid-filled body cavity (other than the gut)
within an organism, it lies between the gut (derived from the endoderm) and the
outer body wall (derived from the ectoderm) and is lined entirely with tissue derived
from the mesoderm. It is formed from the mesoderm during embryonic
development. It is found in triploblastic animals called coelomates. (09 Oct 1997)