Both giraffes and humans have seven vertebrae in their necks.
As babies, we have 33 vertebrae but as adults we end up with 26. What happens to the 9remaining
bones? Four of them will fuse to make our tailbone and five fuse to make the back of the pelvis.
The spinal column has 3 very important functions – it supports the body’s weight, provides flexibility for movement, protects nerve roots and fibres and forms a protective surrounding for the spinal cord
– the main pathway of communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
The first set of vertebrae (the cervical vertebrae found in the neck) are also called the Atlas.
Atlas is a character from Greek mythology who, after losing a fight, was turned to stone and had to carry
the weight of the Earth and the Heavens on his shoulders. The cervical vertebrae were also given
this name as they carry the weight of the head.
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