vertebral column, spinal column


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
Vertebral columnclick for a larger image
Fig. 314 Vertebral column . A lumber vertebra of a mammal. (a) Front view. (b) Side view.

vertebral column, spinal column

or

backbone

the series of vertebrae surrounding the SPINAL CORD. Each vertebra consists of a centrum which replaces the embryonic NOTOCHORD, a neural arch covering the spinal cord and often a haemal arch enclosing blood vessels. Transverse processes may also be present to which ribs articulate. Vertebrae are joined by the centra and often by projections of the neural arch. The column articulates with the skull by means of the atlas vertebra, with the ribs at the thoracic vertebrae, and with the pelvic girdle at the sacrum. See Fig. 314 . See also LUMBAR VERTEBRA, ZYGAPOPHYSIS.