Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies
Written in plain English and packed with beautiful illustrations, Anatomy & Physiology For Dummies is your guide to a fantastic voyage of the human body, Erin Odya is an anatomy and physiology teacher at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana, one of Indiana's top schools, Maggie Norris is a freelance science writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area,
Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies
Anatomy and Physiology: The Big Picture
IN THIS CHAPTER
Placing anatomy and physiology in a scientific framework
Jawing about jargon
Looking at anatomy: planes, regions, and cavities
Delineating life's levels of organization
Human anatomy is the study of the human body's structures - all the parts that make up the physical body itself. Physiology is the study of how the human body works; how all the anatomical parts function together to keep an individual alive. Anatomy and physiology are bound together. As such, this book abandons the old technique of learning all the anatomy and then the physiology as though the two were independent. Here, we examine each body system, identify the structures within that system, and then discuss their functions.
Human anatomy and physiology are closely related to biology, which is the study of living things and their relationship with the rest of the universe, including all other living things. If you've studied biology, you understand the basics of how organisms operate. Anatomy and physiology narrow the science of biology by looking at the specifics of one species: Homo sapiens.
Anatomy is form; physiology is function. You can't talk about one without talking about the other.
THE ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF EVERYTHING ELSE
Scientifically speaking, human biology isn't more or less complex, specialized, or cosmically significant than the biology of any other species, and all are interdependent. Every species of animal, plant, and fungus on the planet has both anatomy and physiology. So does each species of protist (one-celled creatures, like amoebae) and bacteria. At the cellular level (see Chapter 3 ), all these groups are astoundingly similar. At the levels of tissues, organs, and organ systems, plants are very different from animals, and both plants and animals are equally dissimilar to fungi.
Each of these major groups, called a kingdom, has its own characteristic anatomy and physiology. It's evident at a glance to everyone at the beach that a starfish and a human are both animals, while the seaweed in the tide pool and the cedar tree on the shoreline are both plants. Obvious details of anatomy (the presence or absence of bright green tissue) and physiology (the presence or absence of movement) tell that story. The different forms within each kingdom have obvious differences as well: The cedar must stand on the shore, but the seaweed would die there. The starfish can move from one place to another within a limited range, while humans can (theoretically) go anywhere on the planet and survive there for at least a while. Scientists use these differences to classify organisms into smaller and smaller groups within the kingdom, until each organism is classified into its own special group.
Not that human anatomy and physiology aren't special. Humans' bipedal posture and style of locomotion are very special . There's nothing like a human hand anywhere except at the end of a human arm. Perhaps most special of all is the anatomy and physiology that allows (or maybe compels) humans to engage in science: our highly developed brain and nervous system. It's entirely within the norms of evolutionary theory that people would be most interested in their own species, so more humans find human anatomy and physiology more interesting than the anatomy and physiology of the tree. From here on, we're restricting our discussion to the anatomy and physiology of our own species.
How anatomy and physiology fit into science
Biologists base their work on the assumption that every structure and process, no matter how tiny in scope, must somehow contribute to the survival of the individual. So each process - and the chemistry and physics that dr