Anterior ( Aristotle ) : Rostral (Schulze, 1893) in relation to the longitudinal axis (Barclay, 1803); commonly used in this way for comparative anatomy, as was the case for Aristotle in De Partibus Animalium; see, for example, translation by Ogle (1912, 684b-25). Vicq d'Azyr (1786, pp. 51, 58) first clearly defined the term as in front or toward the face, corresponding in most vertebrates to rostral, and in humans to ventral (Schulze, 1893) or anterior (Galen, c177). Discarding the ambiguous terms anterior and posterior has been urged since at least 1880 (Spitzka, 1880, p. 75). Formal descriptors of position in anatomy can be traced to this statement by Aristotle in De Partibus Animalium, "it is a universal law that, as regards above and below, front and back, right and left, the nobler and more honourable part invariably is placed uppermost, in front, and on the right, rather than in the opposite positions, unless some more important object stands in the way"; see translation by Ogle (1912, 665a; also see 667b, 669b). In Historia Animalium he clarified the problems with positional information in comparative anatomy, "In man, above all other animals, the terms ‘upper' and ‘lower' are used in harmony with their natural positions; for in him, upper and lower have the same meaning as when they are applied to the universe as a whole. In like manner the terms, ‘in front', ‘behind', ‘right' and ‘left', are used in accordance with their natural sense. But in regard to other animals, in some cases these distinctions do not exist, and in others they do, but in a vague way. For instance, the head with all animals is up and above in respect to their bodies; but man alone, as has been said, has, in maturity, this part uppermost in respect to the material universe"; see translation by Thompson (1910, 294a-25). Also see Standring (2008, Fig. 1).

list of all the FMC thesaurus terms | search the thesaurus