SPRINGER MEDIZIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPRINGER MEDIZIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Suboccipital muscles. Computer artwork of the back of the base of the skull showing nerves (yellow) and the suboccipital muscles (pink). The two muscles at centre, which attach at the base of the skull (occipital bone) and the first vertebra of the spine (the atlas), are the rectus capitis posterior minor. Either side of those are the rectus capitis posterior major, which attach at the occipital bone and the spinous process of the second vertebra of the spine (the axis). Outside of these are the obliquus capitis superior, which attach the occipital bone to the transverse process of the atlas. These last two muscles are innervated by the occipital nerve. The horizontal muscle attached to the transverse process of the atlas and the spinous process of the axis is the obliquus capitis inferior. These muscles are responsible for extending and rotating the head. The spinal cord runs down the centre of the spine.
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