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Medicine LibreTexts

4.04: Body Cavities

In contrast to many primitive animals, vertebrates have spaces or body cavities that contain the body organs. Most vertebrates have a single body cavity but in mammals the diaphragm divides the main cavity into a thoracic and an abdominal cavity. In the thoracic cavity the heart and lungs are surrounded by their own membranes so that cavities are created around the heart - the pericardial cavity, and around the lungs – the pleural cavity (see diagram 4.13).

Diagram 4.13: The body cavities

Contributors

  • Ruth Lawson (Otago Polytechnic; Dunedin, New Zealand)