JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Thoracic spine. Artwork of a sagittal section through part of the normal thoracic spine, the part of the backbone found in the thorax (chest). The front of the spine is at left. There are twelve vertebrae (blocks of bone) in this region of the spine. At left is the body of each vertebra, with the protruding spinous processes at right forming the rear of the spine. Between each vertebra (pink) are intervertebral discs of fibrocartilage (blue) forming joints that allow the spine to bend and flex. The vertebrae surround the spinal cord (white) which carries nerve signals to and from the brain. The backbone helps protect the spinal cord from damage.
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