MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal column. Historical artwork of the bones of the human spine and pelvis, seen from the front. The backbone (vertical, centre) is a flexible column of 26 spinal bones (vertebrae) supporting the body and protecting the spinal cord. The backbone joins to the skull (not seen) and to the pelvis (lower centre). The bones of the pelvis also connect to the leg bones (bottom right and left). Twelve pairs of ribs are partially shown, with their ligaments. There are seven cervical vertebrae (in the neck), twelve thoracic vertebrae (in the thorax) and five lumbar vertebrae (in the lower back). The final two bones, the sacrum and coccyx, are formed of fused vertebrae.
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