body cavity The internal cavity of the body of an animal, which is present in most invertebrates and all vertebrates and contains the major organs. The body cavity of vertebrates and many invertebrates is the coelom. In vertebrates the body cavity is divided by a transverse septum just posterior to the heart into the abdominal and thoracic cavities (see abdomen; thorax). In mammals the septum is the diaphragm.
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