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Dorsal body cavity

Recommended video: Cavities of the body [25:33]
Learn here the cavities of the human body.

The dorsal body cavity is an enclosed internal cavity located on the posterior aspect of the body, which contains and protects the central nervous system.

It is one of two major body cavities, the other being the ventral body cavity which is composed of the thoracic and abdominopelvic cavities.

The dorsal body cavity is subdivided into two main cavities: a cranial cavity and a vertebral canal.

  • The cranial cavity is formed by the neurocranium and contains the brain, which is enveloped in protective meninges and cushioned by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
  • The vertebral cavity, more accurately called the vertebral canal, is continuous with the cranial cavity through the foramen magnum of the skull and extends into the vertebral column. The canal is formed by the vertebral foramina of staked vertebrae and houses the spinal cord. Similar to the brain the spinal cord bears meninges and is bathed in CSF.
Terminology English: Dorsal body cavity

Cavitas dorsalis corporis humani
Definition Enclosed internal body cavity on the posterior aspect of the body
Function Contains and protects the central nervous system

Learn more about the dorsal body cavity in the following study unit:

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