Body Cavities

Many organs and organ systems in the human body are housed in compartments called body cavities. These cavities protect internal organs from injuries and permit organs such as the lungs to expand and contract while remaining securely supported. As shown in Figure 45-2, the human body has five main body cavities. Each cavity contains one or more organs. The cranial cavity contains the brain. The spinal cavity surrounds the spinal cord.

The two main cavities in the trunk of the human body are separated by a wall of muscle called the diaphragm (DIE-uh-FRAM). The upper compartment, or thoracic (thoh-RAS-ik) cavity, contains the heart, the esophagus, and the organs of the respiratory system. The lower compartment, or abdominal (ab-DAHM-uh-nuhl) cavity, contains organs of the digestive system. The pelvic cavity contains the organs of the reproductive and excretory systems.

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