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Health & the Human Body  


Number of Bones in the Spinal Column
By Cynthia Kirkeby
Jan 22, 2007, 10:48

In the article:

Bones in the Body
By Sarah Lane
The total is incorrect..

- 26 vertebrae (7 cervical or neck, 12 thorax, 5 lumbar or loins, the sacrum which is five fused vertebrae, and the coccyx, our vestigial tail, which is four fused vertebrae); 7 + 12 + 5 = 24.

Not 26.

Alan


Sorry Alan but you're incorrect, according to Apparelyzed: The spinal column is comprised of 33 bones, these bones are refered to individually as vertebrae. The spinal column is divided into 5 different areas contaning groups of vertebrae and are refered to as follows:
  • 7 cervical vertebrae in the neck
  • 12 thoracic vertebrae in the upper back corresponding to each pair of ribs
  • 5 lumbar vertebrae in the lower back
  • 5 sacral vertebrae which are fused together to form 1 bone called the sacrum and 4 coccygeal vertebrae that are also fused together to form the coccyx or tailbone.
  • The vertebrae are refered to by their name and number, counting down from the top of the spinal column as follows:
    • The cervical vertebrae are C1 - C7
    • The thoracic vertebrae are T1 –T12
    • The lumbar are L1 – L5
    • The sacrum and coccyx do not have numbers and each is thought of as one bone.

Taking into account the fused bones of the sacrum and the coccyx, you subtract 7 bones which leaves us with 26 vertebrae.

(5 sacral vertebrae which are fused together to form 1 bone – subtract 4 bones since they are considered one bone) (4 coccygeal vertebrae that are also fused together to form the coccyx – subtract 3 bones since they are considered one bone)

So, Sarah was correct at 26 bones.

Cynthia Kirkeby
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