The dorsal body cavity contains the brain, spinal cord and nerve roots. Dr. James F. Thompson of Austin Peay State University explains that the dorsal cavity is located in the posterior portion of the body and is subdivided into a cranial cavity and vertebral cavity, containing the central nervous system.
The dorsal body cavity is lined with a membranous lining known as the meninges, composed of three connective tissue layers: the dura mater, arachnoid and pia mater. The meninges surround the brain and spinal cord as a protective barrier and are continuous with the meninges covering the spinal cord. The brain and its meninges are housed within the skull, while the spinal cord, nerve roots and their meningeal lining are located within the vertebral column.