GJLP / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GJLP / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lower spine. Coloured three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) scan of the lower spine, seen from the front. The spine is made of a column of 33 cylindrical bones called vertebrae, of which the five lumbar vertebrae are seen here. Between the vertebrae are flexible joints (red) that both stabilise the spine and allow movement. The bony projections on the right side of each vertebra provide attachment sites for the muscles and ligaments that hold the spine together. The pelvis is in lower frame. The vertebrae enclose the spinal cord (not seen), a nerve bundle running down from the brain. Three-dimensional CT scans are made from X-ray "slices" combined by computer.
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