Anatomical Positions


Veterinarian anatomy image


Positional vocabulary


Anterior & Ventral
Front side of an organism: chest, abdomen, knees, ... From latin anterior & ante, forward & before. In pups anterior teeth are lost first.
Related to the tail. From Latin caudau , tail. Also hind, posterior, inferior. Caudal vertebrae are in the tail end of the spinal column.
Related to the head. From Latin crania , skeleton of the head. The cranial area is generally larger in males than females.
Farthest from the reference point. From Latin distare , to be distant. Lungs are distal from the kidneys.
Dorsal & Posterior
Backside of an organism. Back, butt, calves, ... From latin dorsum , back. Swimmers look for the dorsal fins to identify sharks and dolphins.
Lower or located lower than another. From Latin inferus , low. Dogs paws are inferior to their ears.
Located toward the side away from the middle. From Latin latus , side. Ears are lateral to eyes.
Toward the middle. From Latin medius , middle. The heart is the most medial organ in the body.
Posterior & Dorsal
Toward the rear or backside of an organism. Back, butt, calves, tail, ... From latin posterus , coming after, also post , after. Molars are located in the posterior region of the jaw.
Nearest the reference point. From Latin proximus, next to or nearest. In the knee the patella is more proximal to the femur than the tibia and fibula.
Toward the skin, nearer the surface of the body. Skin is superficial to all other organs.
Upper or located higher than another. From Latin superus , upper & super , over. The head is superior to the chest.
Ventral & Anterior
Front side of an organism: chest, abdomen, knees, ... From latin venter , belly. There are five types of taste buds on the ventral surface of a dog's tongue.



Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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