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Anatomy Definition: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

When you study anatomy, you get to learn about one of the most fascinating things on the planet - the human body. In this lesson, you'll learn about your body parts and how they fit together to make you, you.

What is Anatomy?

Have you ever watched a baby discover its hands? Babies can stare at their wiggling fingers for a long time without getting bored. There's no doubt that the body is a curious thing at any age. As a kid, you wonder what happens to the food after you swallow it, and where all of that snot comes from when you have a cold. As an adult, you wonder about the health of body parts like your heart and lungs.

The human anatomy has many body parts.
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Anatomy is the study of structures of living things, so it's the branch of science that describes what body parts like your fingers, mouth, nose, heart, and lungs look like. The word anatomy comes from the Greek language and means to cut (tomy) apart (ana). Cutting apart or dissecting animals was a way that early scientists learned about body parts and how they fit together.

The parts of your body work together and perform jobs that help you live your life. The structure of a body part helps to determine what it can do for you. For example, your heart is a strong muscle, which makes it great at pumping blood through the miles of blood vessels in your body. Did you know that if laid end to end, an adult's blood vessels could circle the Earth about two-and-a-half times? That's about 62,000 miles of blood vessels!

Levels of Anatomy

Cells

Anatomy starts at the microscopic level with cells, which are the basic units of living things. There are trillions of cells in your body, and they vary in size and shape depending on the job they do. For example, your nerve cells have long extensions that they use to carry messages (nerve impulses) between your body and your brain.

Tissues and Organs

A tissue is a group of cells that work together to perform a task. For instance, muscle tissue is made up of muscle cells that contract and relax to create movement.

An organ is made up of a group of tissues that work together to do a job. A special type of muscle tissue called smooth muscle is found in your heart and blood vessels. This smooth muscle is lined with another type of tissue called epithelial tissue, which provides an ideal surface for blood to pass through.

Organ Systems

Your heart is the main organ of your circulatory system.
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