JAMES STEVENSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. JAMES STEVENSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Photograph of the human fifth thoracic vertebra (T5), the fifth of 12 bones in the spine to which the ribs are attached. The bone is seen in inferior aspect with its posterior surface at top of image: in other words, one is looking at the anatomical bottom surface of the bone with its back-facing side at top. The fifth pair of ribs articulates with the transverse processes visible at left and right of the vertebra. The vertebral column is a semi-rigid, bony pillar that supports surrounding muscles and encases and protects the spinal cord, which runs down its length.
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