Human Anatomy and Physiology : Defining Anatomical Orientations

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Human Anatomy and Physiology

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

A coronal plane divides the body into __________.

Possible Answers:

superior and inferior

medial and lateral

ventral and dorsal

transverse and oblique

left and right

Correct answer:

ventral and dorsal

Explanation:

A coronal plane is any vertical plane that divides the body into ventral (anterior) and dorsal (posterior) segments. A coronal plane will cross the body from one side (right) to the other (left).

A sagittal plane is a vertical plane that divides the body into right and left, and will cross the body from front (anterior) to back (posterior).

A transverse plane sections the body into superior and inferior regions and will cross the body in the horizontal plane.

Example Question #12 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

In human anatomical position, which of the following is synonymous with "posterior?"

Possible Answers:

Distal

Dorsal

Superior

Ventral

Caudal

Correct answer:

Dorsal

Explanation:

The anterior-posterior directions in humans refers to the stomach and backside, respectively. Another term to describe this same plane is the ventral and dorsal directions. Dorsal and posterior can be considered synonymous.

Ventral is the opposite of dorsal and refers to the anterior or front of the body. Caudal refers to the lower region of the body and is somewhat synonymous with inferior. Superior is the opposite of inferior, and refers to the upper portion of the body. Distal refers to the region farthest from the attachment of an extremity; this is different from lateral, which refers to the region farthest from the midline.

Example Question #13 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

In anatomical position, which of the following in the same direction as "superior" when looking at the human arm?

Possible Answers:

Lateral

Distal

Inferior

Proximal

Caudal

Correct answer:

Proximal

Explanation:

In the anatomical position, the limbs of the human body are oriented in a superior/inferior direction. Distal regions will be associated with inferior since the limbs are free hanging, whereas proximal will be associated with superior. Superior refers to the region highest on the body, while proximal refers to the region closest to the point of limb attachment. These two terms refer to the same area of the arm in anatomical position, while distal and inferior would also correlate.

Example Question #14 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

Which of the following relationships has the correct usage of the directional terms?

Possible Answers:

The kidneys are superficial compared to the skin

The bellybutton is appendicular compared to the hands

The head is inferior to the bellybutton

The face is anterior, while the back of the neck is posterior

Correct answer:

The face is anterior, while the back of the neck is posterior

Explanation:

The head is superior (closer to the head) to the bellybutton. The hands are appendicular (distant from the core), not the bellybutton. The kidneys are deep, while the skin is superficial (at the surface). The face is anterior (front of body) while the back of neck is posterior (back of body).

Example Question #15 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

The femur is __________ to the hip and __________ to the knee joint.

Possible Answers:

inferior . . . superior

superior . . . inferior

None of these

posterior . . . anterior

anterior . . . posterior

Correct answer:

inferior . . . superior

Explanation:

Anatomical terms are an easy way to talk about certain parts of the body without confusion. If the top of the head is the superior most portion of the body and the feet are the inferior most part of the body, then the femur is inferior to the hip, but superior to the knee joint.

Example Question #16 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

How would you describe the movement of a person who has his/her arms straight out to the side at the shoulders and brings them down to his/her sides?

Possible Answers:

Abduction

Internal rotation

Flexion 

Adduction 

Extension

Correct answer:

Adduction 

Explanation:

Adduction is movement of a body part toward the body's midline. So if a person has their arms straight out at the shoulders and brings them down to their sides, it is adduction. For fingers and toes, adduction brings the digits toward the center of the hand or foot. For example, if a person has their fingers spread wide apart, bringing them together would be adduction.  

Example Question #17 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

In anatomical position, the hand is which to the shoulder?

Possible Answers:

Superior

Internally rotated 

Flexed

Distal 

Proximal 

Correct answer:

Distal 

Explanation:

Anatomical position is the position with the body erect with arms at the sides and the palms forward. Distal is defined as situated away from the center of the body or from the point of attachment. Proximal describes a structure situated nearer to the center of the body or the point of attachment. Superior describes a structure situated nearer the vertex of the head in relation to the specific reference point; it is the opposite of inferior.  

Example Question #18 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

What is the anatomical term for someone lying on his/her back with the legs straight out?

Possible Answers:

Lithotomy

Back lying

Prone

Supine

Correct answer:

Supine

Explanation:

The supine position is a position of the body where the person is lying face up on their back  In the prone position, the person is on their stomach and is face down, sometimes with the hands behind the head or neck. Lithotomy position is variation of the supine position with the legs separated, flexed, and supported in raised stirrups.

Example Question #19 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

Which of the following is not an anatomical plane of the body?

Possible Answers:

Coronal

Frontal

Sagittal

Visceral

Transverse

Correct answer:

Visceral

Explanation:

The correct answer is visceral. This anatomical term is used to describe a membrane that covers an organ and does not describe a plane of the body.

There are three basic planes of the body: sagittal, coronal (frontal) and transverse. The sagittal plane divides the body into left and right sides. These sides can be equal (midsagittal) or unequal (parasagittal). The coronal (frontal) plane divides the body into anterior (front) and posterior (back) positions. The transverse plane divides the body into upper and lower portions through a cross-section.

Example Question #17 : Defining Anatomical Orientations

Which anatomical term can be used to describe the brain's location in the body relative to the neck?

Possible Answers:

Inferior

Caudal

Lateral

Visceral

Cranial

Correct answer:

Cranial

Explanation:

The correct answer is cranial. The anatomical term cranial is used to describe a structure located at the head end of the body. The brain is located above the neck and therefore is located more at the head-end of the body than the neck.

The other choices do not make sense for this question. The term caudal describes a location at the tail end of the body. The brain and neck are both located towards the head end of the body and not the tail end (or bottom). The neck is located below the brain. Because of this, the brain cannot be described as inferior (or below) the neck. The brain is along the midline and is located medially in the body, thus lateral is not the correct choice. The term visceral describes a membrane that covers an organ and cannot be used to describe the location of the brain (which is an organ) or the neck.

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