Cephalad & Cephalic
Cephalad means in a direction towards the head, in a
direction towards the front end of the body, or in a
direction away from the tail or ends. The type of animal
that the term is used to describe will determine which
one of these areas apply. For example, in human
beings, the cephalad direction is upwards because that
it where the head is located. However, in most other
animals, such as dogs, cats, and fish, the cephalad
direction is in the forwards direction because that is
where the head is located. The term is noted used in
reference to the posture of the body.

Examples of how cephalad is used would be that the
heart is situated cephalad to the intestines, a fish’s gills
are situated cephalad to the tail, and the cervical
vertebrae runs cephalad to the thoracic vertebrae.

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The cervical vertebrae refers to the bones that encase the spinal cord in the neck
whereas the thoracic vertebrae refer to the bones that encase the spinal cord in the
chest. Since the neck is closer to the head than the chest, the cervical vertebrae would
be considered cephalad when compared to the thoracic vertebrae. Cephalad is also
known as cephalic. The opposite of cephalad is caudal. Cephalad comes from the Greek
word "kephale" meaning "head."
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