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External View

bullet Generalities.
bullet Orientation.
bullet Links.

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Warning :
This site contains explicit pictures; its only nature. Parental guidance may be required.
  Indicate that, upon clicking, a better detailed figure will open.
  Indicate a figure with hotspots. Slide your mouse over the different areas to get their names.
Enjoy your navigation!


    The human body is a wonderful machine. It is so efficient and robust, and yet, at the same time, it is so complex with so many interdependent processes that 'a little grain of sand in the gears' can disable it. Each part of your body has its role; each organ, each cell, each molecule play a particular function for your body to work as a whole.

Head, face Head, face Neck Neck Shoulder Shoulder Shoulder Shoulder Breast Breast Breast Breast Belly, abdomen Belly, abdomen Arm Arm Arm Arm Hand Hand Hand Hand Penis Pubis, vulva Hip Hip Hip Hip Thigh Thigh Thigh Thigh Knee Knee Knee Knee Leg Leg Leg Leg Foot Foot Foot Foot Forearm Forearm Forearm Forearm
Ventral view of a man (left) and a woman (right)
Ventral view of a man (left) and a woman (right)

Head Head Back Back Buttocks Buttocks Thigh Thigh Popliteal fossa Popliteal fossa Popliteal fossa Popliteal fossa Calf Calf Ankle Ankle Foot Foot Arm Forearm Hand Arm Forearm Hand Arm Forearm Hand Arm Forearm Hand Dorsal view of a man (left) and a woman (right)
Dorsal view of a man (left) and a woman (right)

    Even though our body seems solid, more than half of its weight (about 56 %) is water. And this water has a composition close to sea water, just a little less salty.

    There is about 75 billions cells in our body. At the surface, though, you don't see living cells. Indeed, the external layer of our skin, hair and nails is made of dead cells and keratin.

    The external appearance of our body depends on multiple traits. Differences in the color of our skin, hairs and eyes, the size and length of our bones, the development of our muscles and our fat accumulation give each one of us a different look. Most of these traits are primarily ruled by genetic factors. If your parents and tall and slim, with black eyes, there is a good chance that you will look alike. But nothing is black and white in genetics: there are so many possible combinations and some mutations. After birth, surrounding environment, behavior, eating, exercise and diseases will mold a growing and aging body and change its appearance. We do not get born as a marathonist, but we need the genetic aptitude, the will and a lot of sweat to become one.


    We need to adopt a common terminology in order to orient ourselves when we want to describe our body. When we talk about spatial orientation, we need a point of reference. In anatomy, this point is the center of your body. In the following table, you will find a list of common terms used to orient ourselves, and the figure illustrate those terms (click for higher resolution). For example, the proximal end of your tibia is the one closest to the center of your body (at the level of the knee for the tibia), whereas the distal end of the tibia is the one closest to your extremity (at the level of the foot for the tibia).

Planes of the body, orientation.
Planes of the body, orientation.

Toward the head Rostral ou superior
Toward the feet Caudal ou inferior
Toward the belly, the face Ventral ou anterior
Toward the back Dorsal or posterior
Toward the side Lateral
From outside toward the center Medial
Toward the extremity Distal
Toward the origin Proximal
Back of the hands and feet Dorsal
Inside your hand Palmar
Under your feet Plantar
Bending of an articulation Flexion
Stretching of an articulation Extension
Lateral movement Abduction
Medial movement  Adduction
Rotation (thumb lateral) Supination
Rotation (thumb medial) Pronation


    Here are some interesting links, in French and English. They will help to improve your knowledge about the human body and science in general.

Students' help (French):

Terminology dictionary (English/French):

Science and human anatomy (French):

Human anatomy in 'Flash' (French/English/Spanish):

Medicine and general health (French):

Site with a nice 3D anatomical model (French/English):
       You need to register; its free.

Tons of biomedical pictures:

Human evolution (English):

Canadian museum of civilisations:

General biology (French/English):

Animal physiology (French):

Sites about the nervous system (French):



Site about the cardiovascular system (French):

Site about the memory (French):

Excellent site about the cell (English):

Superb video about intracellular molecular processes (English):

Site with video to explain genetics (French):

Website on pharmacology (English):

Site about AIDS (French):

Site about earth (French/English):

Scales of the universe (French/English/and many more):
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