abdomen, in humans and other vertebrates, portion of the trunk between the diaphragm and lower pelvis. In humans the wall of the abdomen is a muscular structure covered by fascia, fat, and skin. The abdominal cavity is lined with a thin membrane, the peritoneum, which encloses the stomach, intestines, liver, and gall bladder; the pancreas, kidneys, and urinary bladder are located behind the peritoneum. The abdomen of the female also contains the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. The navel, or umbilicus, an exterior scar on the front of the abdomen, marks the point of attachment of the fetus to the maternal organism before birth. In insects, crustacea, and some other arthropods, the term abdomen refers to the entire rear portion of the body.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.