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spinal column,bony column forming the main structural support of the skeletonskeleton,
in anatomy, the stiff supportive framework of the body. The two basic types of skeleton found among animals are the exoskeleton and the endoskeleton. The shell of the clam is an exoskeleton composed primarily of calcium carbonate.
..... Click the link for more information. of humans and other vertebrates, also known as the vertebral column or backbone. It consists of segments known as vertebrae linked by intervertebral disks and held together by ligaments. In human beings, the spinal column of the child contains more vertebrae than the adult, in whom a number become fused into two immovable bones, the sacrum and the coccyx, forming the back of the pelvispelvis,
bony, basin-shaped structure that supports the organs of the lower abdomen. It receives the weight of the upper body and distributes it to the legs; it also forms the base for numerous muscle attachments.
..... Click the link for more information. . The 24 movable vertebrae are the 7 cervical (neck), 12 thoracic (back of chest), and 5 lumbar (loin). The remaining vertebrae include 5 fused sacral, and between 3 and 5 fused caudal. Each vertebra has a somewhat cylindrical bony body (centrum), a number of winglike projections, and a bony arch. The bodies of the vertebrae form the strong but pliable supporting column of the skeleton. The arches are positioned so that the space they enclose is in effect a tube, the vertebral canal. It houses and protects the spinal cordspinal cord,
the part of the nervous system occupying the hollow interior (vertebral canal) of the series of vertebrae that form the spinal column, technically known as the vertebral column.
..... Click the link for more information. , and within it the spinal fluid circulates. Ligaments and muscles are attached to various projections of the vertebrae. The 12 pairs of ribs that make up the front of the chest are linked to the thoracic vertebrae. The spine is subject to abnormal curvature, injury, infections, tumor formation, arthritic disorders, and puncture or slippage of the cartilage disks. Scoliosis is one relatively common disease which affects the spinal column. It involves moderate to severe lateral curvature of the spine, and, if not treated, may lead to serious deformities later in life.
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spinal column[′spīn·əl ‚käl·əm]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
a series of contiguous or interconnecting bony or cartilaginous segments that surround and protect the spinal cord
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005