Tunic or Coat? Historical, Etymological Analysis and Proposal for the International Anatomical Terminology

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Francisco Pérez-Rojas; Pablo Bustamante-Aliste & Ricardo S. Puebla Wuth


The continuous development of the morphological sciences and the use of their products by various applied sciences has led to the incorporation of modifications into Anatomical Terminology (TA) that tend to interpretations of the names, which are given by principle in Latin as the official language. This situation requires periodic reviews of the nomenclature, suggesting reliable and valid adjustments from the translation into the vernacular language of the anatomical terms. In this sense, we review the terms in International Anatomical Terminology (IAT) of: Tunica mucosa linguae (A05.1.04.011), Tunica serosa (A05.4.01.007), Tunica adventitia (A05.4.01.009), Tunica muscularis (A05.4.01.010), Tunica mucosa (A05.4.01.015) and Tunica mucosa oris (A05.1.01.002); those that, translated into Spanish by the Spanish Anatomical Society (2001) are identified as: mucosa of the tongue, serosa layer, adventitial layer, muscle layer, mucous layer and mucosa of the mouth, respectively; recognizing, etymological errors, in the translation of the term Tunica (in Latin: Tunica) by Capa (from the Latin Cappa) or its absence. Evidenced this, we made an analysis of the Latin terms Tunica and Cappa, and its translation into Spanish, finding: inconsistencies in the translation of the terms, lack of translation of the word Tunica; and, the substantiated verification of such inconsistencies in the etymology of the described terms. In the light of the results, based on the principles of the TA and the principle of construction of the human body of "stratification", we suggest: change the translation in TAI for the terms Tunica mucosa linguae, Tunica serosa, Tunica adventitia, and Tunica mucosa oris by: Mucosa linguae, Cappa serosa, Cappa adventitia, Mucosa oris, and, change, the translation into Spanish of the terms Tunica muscularis and Tunica mucosa into Muscular Tunic and Tunic Mucosa, respectively.The use of correct anatomical terms will allow better communication in the field of teaching and scientific research.

KEY WORDS: Tunic; Coat; Terminologia Anatomica.

How to cite this article

PÉREZ-ROJAS, F.; BUSTAMANTE-ALISTE, P. & PUEBLA-WUTH, R. S. Tunic or Coat? Historical, etymological analysis and proposal for the International Anatomical Terminology. Int. J. Morphol., 36(1):284-289, 2018.