Vertebral Column


    1. Structure that encloses the nerve cord - F vertebral arch (A, body is OK too)

    2. Weight-bearing portion of the vertebra - A body

    3. Provide levers for the muscles to pull against - C spinous process, and E transverse process

    4. Provides an articulation point for the ribs - A body



    1. Type of vertebrae containing foramina in the transverse processes, through which the vertebral arteries ascend to reach the brain - A atlas, B axis, and C cervical vertebra

    2. Its dens provides a pivot for rotation of the first cervical vertebra - B axis

    3. Transverse processes have facets for articulation with ribs; spinous process points sharply downward - G thoracic vertebra

    4. Composite bone; articulates with the hip bone laterally - F sacrum

    5. Massive vertebrae; weight-sustaining - E lumbar vertebra

    6. Tailbone; vestigial fused vertebrae - D coccyx

    7. Supports the head; allows the rocking motion of the occipital condyles - A atlas

    8. Seven components; unfused - C cervical vertebra

    9. Twelve components; unfused - G thoracic vertebra



In describing abnormal curvatures, it could be said that (1) kyphosis is an exaggerated thoracic curvature, and in (2) scoliosis the vertebral column is displaced laterally.

Intervertebral discs are made of (3) fibrocartilage tissue. The discs provide (4) shock absorption / flexibility to the spinal column.



A. Cervical (Atlas)

    Labels (top to bottom): transverse process, vertebral foramen

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B. Cervical

    Labels (top to bottom - left side first): vertebral foramen, body, transverse process, superior articular process, spinous process

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C. Thoracic

    Labels (top to bottom): body, vertebral foramen, superior articular process, transverse process, spinous process

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D. Lumbar

    Labels (top to bottom - left side first): body, vertebral foramen, transverse process, superior articular process, spinous process

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    1. Cervical (C1 - C7)

    2. Thoracic (T1 - T12)

    3. Lumbar (L1 - L5)

    4. Sacrum (5 fused)

    5. Coccyx (4 fused)

    6. Atlas (C1)

    7. Axis (C2)

(click to enlarge)


Bony Thorax (Thoracic Cage)


The organs protected by the thoracic cage include the (1) heart (and major blood vessels) and the (2) lungs. Ribs 1 through 7 are called (3) vertebrosternal (true) ribs, whereas ribs 8 through 12 are called (4) vertebrochondral and vertebral (false) ribs. Ribs 11 and 12 are also called (5) vertebral (floating) ribs. All ribs articulate posteriorly with the (6) thoracic vertebrae, and most connect anteriorly to the (7) sternum, either directly or indirectly.

The general shape of the thoracic cage is (8) cone-shaped.



 Labels (top to bottom): manubrium, body, xiphoid process

(click to enlarge)