The skull and the spine

The skull and the spine

The two main parts of the central nervous system, the brain and the spinal cord are protected by the skull and the spinal column.

Biology

Keywords

skull, spine, defense, facial skeleton, neurocranium, vertebra, zygomatic bone, frontal bone, temporal bone, occipital bone, nasal bone, jaw, cervical vertebrae, thoracic vertebra, lumbar vertebra, sacrum, bone, spinal cord, brain, human, skeleton, biology

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Scenes

The skull and the spine

  • facial bones
  • neurocranium
  • cervical vertebrae (7 pcs)
  • thoracic vertebrae (12 pcs)
  • lumbar vertebrae (5 pcs)
  • sacral vertebrae (5 pcs)
  • coccygeal vertebrae (3-5 pcs)

Skull

  • frontal bone - It forms the frontal part of the skull (or cranium). It is a single bone in adults, but at birth, it consists of two pieces which fuse in the second year of life.
  • orbital bones
  • nasal bone
  • zygomatic bone - A paired bone that, through one of its processes, forms part of the cheekbones (zygomatic arch). Thereby it plays a key role in forming the shape and width of our face.
  • maxilla - The upper, fixed jaw bone; formed from the fusion of the two maxillary bones. It forms part of the hard palate, the lateral walls of the nasal cavity and the orbit of the eye. It holds the upper row of teeth.
  • mandible - The only bone in the skull that articulates through a synovial joint, therefore the only moveable bone of the skull. It holds the lower row of teeth. The protuberance of the chin provides a point of attachment for muscles and thereby plays an important role in articulation.
  • parietal bones - Two large and strong bones that form the sides and roof of the cranium.
  • sutures
  • temporal bone - The temporal bones are located on both sides of the neurocranium. A pair of zygomatic processes project forwards from the temporal bones.
  • occipital bone - The bone at the back and lower part of the neurocranium. It forms part of the cranial base. There is a large oval opening, called the foramen magnum, in its backmost part.
  • foramen magnum - A large oval opening at the cranial base which allows the passage of the spinal cord. The first vertebra (the atlas) attaches to the occipital bone via a condyloid joint, the attachment points of which are called occipital condyles and are found on both sides of the foramen magnum.

Spine

  • cervical vertebrae (7 pcs)
  • thoracic vertebrae (12 pcs)
  • lumbar vertebrae (5 pcs)
  • sacral vertebrae (5 pcs)
  • coccygeal vertebrae (3-5 pcs)

Cervical vertebrae

  • atlas - The superior (first) cervical vertebra, supporting the skull and responsible for the nodding movements of the head. The atlas has no vertebral body or spinous processes; it consists of an anterior and posterior vertebral arch and transverse processes.
  • axis - The second cervical vertebra (C2) of the spine. Its odontoid process forms a pivot upon which the atlas rotates thereby allowing the rotation of the head.

Thoracic vertebra

  • vertebral body - The body is the larger part of the vertebra and it bears most of the load. It is composed of cancellous bone (spongy bone tissue), covered by compact bone.
  • transverse process
  • spinous process - It is formed from the fusion of the vertebral arches; it points backwards and downwards. It provides an attachment point for muscles and prevents the spine from bending too much backwards.
  • vertebral foramen - The central opening in the vertebra formed by the vertebral body and the vertebral arch. The spinal canal, the tunnel formed by the foramina of all the vertebrae, houses the spinal cord.
  • vertebral arch
  • articular process - These processes point upwards and downwards and attach to the adjacent vertebrae via synovial joints. They allow vertebrae to fit tightly with each other.

Lumbar vertebra

  • vertebral body - The body is the larger part of the vertebra and it bears most of the load. It is composed of cancellous bone (spongy bone tissue), covered by compact bone.
  • transverse process
  • spinous process - It is formed from the fusion of the vertebral arches; it points backwards and downwards. It provides an attachment point for muscles and prevents the spine from bending too much backwards.
  • vertebral foramen - The opening formed by the anterior segment vertebral body and the vertebral arch. The spinal canal, the tunnel formed by the foramina in all the vertebrae, houses the spinal cord.
  • vertebral arch

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The skeleton and the internal organs

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