Relative terms. Anterior-posterior and ventral-dorsal
- Anterior (Latin ante; before): is to be situated near or toward the front (first in movement) of the body.
- Ventral: when something is said to be ventral, it means that it is closer to the front side of the body. For example, the eyes are ventral to the brain..
- Posterior (Latin post; after): is to be situated toward the back (last in movement) of the body.
- Dorsal: when something is said to be dorsal, it means that it is closer to the back side of the body. For example, the brain is dorsal to the eyes.
- In a quadruped the terms anterior and posterior are synonymous with cranial and caudal.
In humans, ventral and anterior, dorsal and posterior are interchangeable because we walk upright, or bipedal. In other animals, like the cat, they are not interchangeable.
Anatomists and zoologists differ in interpreting the two terms immediately above. When considering a four-legged animal, the zoologists refer to the head as anterior, the tail posterior, the animal back as dorsal and under or belly side as ventral. Anatomists, when considering the human body, refer to the head as superior, toward the feet as inferior, the front of the body as anterior or ventral and the back of the body as posterior or dorsal.
•The sternum is anterior (ventral) to the heart
•The heart is posterior(dorsal) to the sternum