The osseous structure is peculiarly fitted, by its solidity and hardness, not only to give support to the soft parts, but also to furnish points of attachment to the muscles, by which the different movements are executed. This solid framework of the body is made up of a number of separate pieces, the aggregate of which has been termed " the skeleton" (sceletum, σχελλω, to dry.)
The spine (vertebral column) consists of thirty-three superimposed bones termed vertebrae. Of these the upper twenty-four remain separate throughout life and form three groups. The first seven are called cervical, the succeeding twelve thoracic (dorsal), and the last five lumbar. In adult life the last nine vertebras ankylose to form two composite bones named the sacrum and the coccyx. The sacrum is formed by the fusion of five vertebrae from the twenty-fifth to the twenty-ninth inclusive; the four terminal are vestigial, and form the coccyx. In order to gain a general notion of the characters of a vertebra, it is desirable to select a bone from the middle of the thoracic series.
The occipital bone, (lat.: os occipitis, french: Os occipital) is situated at the posterior part of the base of the skull; broad behind, much narrowed before, of a trapezoid figure, presenting two surfaces, four borders, and four angles. To place the bone in its natural position, hold it so that the great foramen and the articulating processes beside it shall look directly downwards; the thick process in front of the foramen will then project forwards into the base of the Skull, Whilst the broad expanded part behind it arches upwards and a little forwards, forming the posterior wall of the Cavity.
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