ASTRID & HANNS-FRIEDER MICHLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ASTRID & HANNS-FRIEDER MICHLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Thoracic vertebrae. Close-up of the back of a female skeleton showing the thoracic vertebrae and the rib cage. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae in the human spine and each is connected to a pair of ribs (as seen here) on either side. These vertebrae run down the rear wall of the chest. Each vertebra is roughly cylindrical and the vertebral column (or spine) encloses and protects the spinal cord. There are 33 vertebrae in total in the human spine.
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