Bock, Walter J. Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York.
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A major body division of the vertebrate trunk lying posterior to the thorax (chest) and, in mammals, bounded anteriorly by the diaphragm and extending to the pelvis. The abdomen (see illustration) is a major anatomical region of the body. The diaphragm, found only in mammals, separates the abdominal or peritoneal cavity from the pleural and pericardial cavities of the thorax (chest). In all pulmonate vertebrates (possessing lungs or lunglike organs) other than mammals, the lungs lie in the same cavity with the abdominal viscera (internal organs), and this cavity is known as the pleuroperitoneal cavity. See also: Lung; Mammalia; Regional anatomy; Vertebrata
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