Alright, I’ll do my best to explain this. In all of these images the skull is to the right and the tail is to the left, and the left image is the top view and the right image is the bottom view.
•First two images are the cervical vertebrae. There should be 7 of these, including the atlas and axis, which are the very first two vertebrae and allow for side to side and up and down head movement.
•The next set are the thoracic vertebrae, and there should be 14. These are the vertebrae that connect to the ribs.
•Next set are the lumbar vertebrae, these are heavier set and there should be 6.
•Next two are the sacral vertebrae, which are fused into one, and connects to the pelvis. In these pictures you can also see the beginnings of the caudal vertebrae, or the tail. I didn’t get close ups of the whole tail because its pretty straight forward, just line them up largest to smallest.
Well okay, I hope that is helpful! If you or anyone else ever needs any reference images I’d be happy to oblige. Happy articulating!
EDIT: the vertebrae count was meant for a user asking about *raccoons*, these numbers vary between species, and caudal vertebrae can vary within a species as well.
A study, published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, compared the shapes of lower-back vertebrae among humans, chimpanzees and orangutans. Also studied were so-called Schmorl’s nodes, the soft tissue of a spinal disc that pushes into the bone of the vertebrae above and below.
After analysis of all the apes’ lower spines, the researchers said in a press release that “…The last thoracic and first lumbar vertebrae of healthy humans, chimpanzees and orangutans can be distinguished from each other, but vertebrae of pathological humans and chimpanzees cannot.”
In other words, the researchers could not tell the difference between the vertebrae of a human with mid-to-lower spine disease — with Schmorl’s nodes — and a chimp.
Some paraplegics may be able to walk again, thanks to a new robotic device approved by the Food and Drug Administration. People with lower-body paralysis due to spinal cord injuries will be able to purchase the new exoskeleton suit.
The device, called ReWalk, is a motorized, fitted brace that supports the legs and part of the upper body. The motors supply movement at the hips, knees and ankles. The device also uses a tilt sensor and backpack with a computer and power supply. A person wearing the suit will be able to sit, stand and walk with assistance from a trained companion, according to the FDA statement.
Paralysis – either complete or partial – due to a spinal injury affects approximately 200,000 people in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Candidates for the ReWalk have spinal cord injuries at levels T7, the seventh thoracic vertebra, to L5, the fifth lumbar vertebra, when accompanied by a specially trained caregiver. A version is approved for use at rehabilitation institutions only for people with injuries at levels T4, the fourth thoracic vertebra, to T6, the sixth thoracic vertebra.
A Vanderbilt neurosurgeon is looking to recruit patients with
paraplegia to investigate whether intraspinal microstimulation
technology can restore complex body movements.
The implantation of tiny electrodes along the spinal cord has caused
paralyzed animals to walk, but it has yet to be tested with humans.
Peter Konrad, M.D., Ph.D., and his research team are seeking volunteers
willing to participate in a proof of concept experiment.
The study requirements are very specific. The participants must be
undergoing a previously scheduled spinal surgery for a reason other than
the experiment. And they should have a completely severed spinal cord
between the thoracic 3 and thoracic 8 vertebrae without further damage
below that point.
“I want absolutely no question that we are creating the movement and that there is no accidental circuitry input,” Konrad said.
Konrad is looking to do the proof of concept experiment with two
patients before seeking to expand the study. Joseph Cheng, M.D.,
director of the Neurosurgery Spine Program, is overseeing the data
safety and monitoring of the study.
“This is such a landmark study, and one which has the potential to
help paralyzed people walk again,” Cheng said. “Even at this early
stage, I feel the concept of intraspinal microstimulation has shown the
best promise at this time for our patients who suffer from paraplegia. I
think whoever volunteers for this study will be leading the way for
those suffering with paraplegia, and who really have no other options
However, with this initial proof of concept study the patient
volunteers cannot expect any permanent improvements in movement from the
“We are not going to implant anything,” Konrad said. “We are just
going to test the concept in the spinal cords of paralyzed people coming
in for another reason for surgery.”
While the brain may send movement signals to the body, there are
areas along the spinal cord, central pattern generators, that are
already programmed to elicit certain types of body responses — a theory
that has been proven in animals with research conducted at the
University of Alberta, Canada, by Vivian Mushahwar, Ph.D., a
neuroscientist and bioengineer.
“Dr. Mushahwar basically showed there are some very small areas
inside the spinal cord regions in the lower thoracic area where there is
a sweet spot of stimulation that can induce complex stepping
movements,” Konrad said.
These areas direct smoother, coordinated movements in animals, he
noted, and if the same is true in humans, intraspinal microstimulation
should prove superior to other paths researchers are pursuing. Other
methods that have shown promise for people who are paralyzed, such as
peripheral stimulators, have produced fast movement that quickly results
in rapid fatigue, he said.
“You are stimulating out on the muscle,” Konrad said. “You are not roping in on the efficiency of the spinal cord circuitry.”
Researchers at the University of Louisville have used a method called
epidural stimulation, which involves the placement of electrodes along
the outside of the spinal cord to spur movement. This procedure is
commonly used to implant stimulators for pain control. However, Konrad
said intraspinal microstimulation should elicit more controlled stepping
The concept of placing tiny wires into the spinal cord is similar to
the deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery that Konrad performs every week
at Vanderbilt. However, the location of the micro-wires will be applied
to mapping spinal cord circuits instead of the deep brain circuits. The
wires will be much smaller than a strand of human hair.
“We are talking about a 0.1 millimeter to 0.2 millimeter sweet spot
in the cord,” Konrad said. “That makes it a very small area. If you
stimulate one area of the cord, you can get a certain type of movement.
You move it half a millimeter; you get another type of movement. If we
can find that this sweet spot is lying dormant in paralyzed people, then
there will be an enormous incentive to develop a device to awaken it.”
The vertebral column comprises 7 cervical, 18 thoracic, 6 lumbar, 5 sacral, and about 20 caudal vertebrae. Variations in number are not uncommon; the most frequent is the reduction of the lumbar vertebrae to five, especially in the Arab. The impression of shortness in the loins in other breeds is more often due to a marked caudal inclination of the last ribs.
[ The original source for this image was impossible to track, so my apologies. ]
Jeremy is a senior computer technology major from Greensboro, North Carolina. He suffered from a blood clot near his 6th thoracic vertebra and has since been in a wheel chair. Before the injury Jeremy, more affectionately known as “Jermo”, described himself as a “nonstop hooper”. His laughter is infectious, and his sense of humor is unparalleled. Despite his current condition, Jeremy keeps a positive attitude and is a delight to be around.
Granting Thetis’s wish, great Zeus shook his head, using the atlanto-axial joint* to turn it; with his dark brows the son of Kronos inclined his head, consenting to Greek pain, for swift-living Achilles’ sake. *If gods have such joints: after all it is a landmark on the human spine.
ii. The Thoracic Vertebrae
This is what happens when the back is broken, when the nerves that conduct the orders of the brain from command center to the thing commanded are severed, as by Achilles’ great spear: everything goes dark; the electricity that led from mind to foot, that creates Hector’s swiftness, is undone. (They chase each other around the city, whose spine Hector is; Achilles is like a dog chasing a hare, to catch and shake, to break its neck.)
iii. Lumbar Spine
Each vertebra slots into place with a crack as his spine straightens to throw the spear, as he throws, as he watches to see it hit, as he falls, exhausted by grief and exertion, as Zeus’ plan, seen from the start, is accomplished.
Every part of him is holy, but this part is holier by its name, given by Galen, perhaps because this is the piece of the animal that was sacrificed, as the heroes were sacrificed to history.
In humans it is only the memory of a tail; but it is an anchor for muscle and nerve, important like the final line, falling into place: thus they buried Hector, tamer of horses.
Upper and parasagittal surfaces of the typical thoracic vertebra. The cavities in the center of each vertebra form a continuous spinal canal which house and protect the delicate neurons of the spinal cord. A paper in the Journal of Anatomy reports a great variance in the breaking point of lumbar vertebrae, some requiring as much as 16 kilonewtons of force to break - a figure somewhat less than the force of a bite from a great white shark (~18kN). This illustration is from Gray’s Anatomy (1918)
A human backbone is actually a set of 33 individual vertebrae. Which are named by region. Seven cervical vertebrae, twelve thoracic vertebrae, and five lumbar vertebrae. Each regional vertebrae type is very similar to the other, but with slight differences.
TB is caused by a bacterium from the genus Mycobaterium. M. tuberculosis infects the lungs, and is spread via contaminated bodily fluids (i.e. saliva or mucus) that are dispersed during a cough or a sneeze. Once in the lungs the infection can spread through the blood stream to other parts of the body, including bones. Once the TB bacteria is in the spine the infection is then called spinal tuberculosis.
Spinal tuberculosis, or Pott’s disease, makes up half of the cases of skeletal TB. When in the spine, the infection is largely limited to the intervertebral disk space and vertebral bodies, and most often affects the lower thoracic vertebrae or the upper lumbar vertebrae. When the infection sets into the vertebral bodies an abscess can form causing the vertebrae to collapse and a severe curvature to form.
One day Cas says, “Stars died for you, Dean Winchester”, against ruffled hair perched atop sun kissed skin and sleepy eyes.
Dean stirs, moving to spread his palms against the contour of Cas’ back, tips of fingers languidly strumming the indentations of his spine. One, two, three, four, he counts, the closest he could get to scientifically studying the anatomy of the human body.
“Is this some physics crap again?” He frowns with eyes closed.
Cas smiles softly. “Far from it.”
Dean’s fingers play at the base of his back, ninth thoracic vertebrae, Cas notes.
“Then tell me all about it.”
My comments: There are fics which keep you astonished by their beauty, even when you’ve finished reading them. This story is one of them. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this fic, how amazingly beautiful it’s written.