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Anatomical Position

(Sample Lesson)


Anatomists use a standardized body pose called the anatomical position to assign directional terms (e.g. front, back, sides) to the body regions.

A body in the anatomical position ……

  • is erect with the arms placed to the sides,
  • the legs and feet are at shoulder width and parallel,
  • and the face, palms, and feet are directed forward.
creative commons

Terms of Use

The assigned directional terms still apply even if the body regions change position. For example, the palmer surface of the hand is still considered to be anterior even if the wrist is turned over and the palmar surface faces backward. Without this standardized approach, assigning directional terms to the body’s moveable parts would become much more confusing.

Page Attributions

OpenStax College, Anatomy and Physiology

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