Kimball Biology 5e says

Coelom is the main body cavity of many animals. It is lined with an epithelium derived from mesoderm.

Gilbert Embryonal Biology 9e says

Coelom is the space between the somatic mesoderm and splanchnic mesoderm that becomes the body cavity. In mammals, the coelom becomes subdivided into the pleural, pericardial, and peritoneal cavities, enveloping the thorax, heart, and abdomen, respectively.

Then my lecture materials and the research site say

Coelom is the secondary body cavity.

Finnish Wikipedia says that Coelom is only with invertebrates. Again the Wikipedia page about peritoneum suggests that human has abdominal cavity and no coelom, and other mammalians coelom.

Does human have Coelom?

The confusing thing is the use of the word "OR", since I am not sure whether people are using it in different pages like "XOR" or like "AND" in normal speaking.


1 Answer 1


Wikipedia actually covers this:

Most bilateral animals, including all the vertebrates, are coelomates.

Now, some coelomates have subsequently lost their coelom but primates (actually, I believe, all vertebrates) are not among them. In humans, the coelom forms, amongst others, the pleural cavity.

So, yes: humans do have a coelom that partitions into different, unconnected body cavities during development.

  • $\begingroup$ So the coelom is not any specific cavity of human adult. It just a cavity in the embryonal stage which divides to other cavities. - So if you see the preparat of human adult, you cannot show that the thing here is coelom. $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2012 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ I read the following definition somewhere: "Coelom is the fluid-filled body cavity that separates the digestive tract and the outer body wall and is completely lined with mesoderm." - The clause may be wrong, at least for adult human, since it suggests me that you can see such a cavity in adult human. - It may be the case for other vertebrates where you can see in the adult species. - Thinking better definition. So probably it is better to say "Cavity that separates the digestive tract and the outer body wall at some point of development of vertebrates." - What do you think? Is it better? $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2012 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Masi Well, where is the mesoderm in an adult human? Or any other adult animal? As far as I know, all of these definitions apply to (some stage of) embryo development. Not only for humans and not only for vertebrates but in general. $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2012 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ I need to find a general definition for humans. - Is the following any better? "Coelom is the lateral cavity between parietal and visceral mesodermal layers. Coelom forms at the time of primary neurulation (formation of neural groove etc)." $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2012 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ I think so that you cannot really see mesoderm in an adult human. - It is a developmental layer between ectoderm and endoderm. You can see it after gastrulation, probably during gastrulation too its development. It forms finally for instance muscles and bones during organogenesis. $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2012 at 15:37

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