Ventral Body Cavity The ventral body cavity is much larger than the dorsal cavity. It contains all the structures within the chest and abdomen. Like the dorsal cavity, the ventral body cavity is subdivided. The superior thoracic cavity is separated from the rest of the ventral cavity by a dome-shaped muscle, the diaphragm (di-ah-fram). The organs in the thoracic cavity (lungs, heart, and others) are somewhat protected by the rib cage. The cavity inferior to the diaphragm is the abdominopelvic (ab-dom0˘ı-no-pel-vik) cavity. Some prefer to subdivide it into a superior abdominal cavity, containing the stomach, liver, intestines, and other organs, and an inferior pelvic cavity, with the reproductive organs, bladder, and rectum. However, there is no actual physical structure dividing the abdominopelvic cavity. If you look carefully at Figure 1.7, you will see that the pelvic cavity is not continuous with the abdominal cavity in a straight plane, but that it tips away from it in the posterior direction. HOMEOSTATIC IMBALANCE
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