vertebral column, spinal column
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Encyclopedia.
vertebral column, spinal columnor
backbonethe 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.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005