JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Human spine. Illustration of the human spine (also called the backbone or vertebral column) seen from the side, with the rear part of the bones at left. The spine consists of 33 almost cylindrical bones called vertebrae. Seven cervical vertebrae are found in the neck (at top); twelve thoracic vertebrae occur in the region of the ribcage; the lower back has five lumbar vertebrae; the pelvis contains five fused sacral and four fused coccyx vertebrae (at bottom). The vertebral bones are separated from each other by disc-shaped pads of cartilage (blue). The spine supports the trunk and head, and encloses the spinal cord (yellow), which branches into the body's major nerves (yellow).
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