JAMES STEVENSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. JAMES STEVENSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Photograph of the human first lumbar vertebra (L1), one of five bones that comprise the lumbar spine of the lower back. The vertebra is seen in superior aspect with the dorsal surface at top: in other words, one is looking at the upper surface of the bone with its back- facing surface at top. Lumbar vertebrae have large, wide bodies - the disc-like bone at bottom; the bony processes (spinous at top, transverse at left & right) are relatively short and thickened in L1. The central opening (the vertebral canal) accommodates the spinal cord. The lumbar vertebrae are the largest of the unfused vertebrae in the backbone.
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