Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of the bones or cartilaginous segments forming the spinal column.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In Vertebrata, any bone of the spine; any segment of the backbone. See backbone and spine.
  • noun In echinoderms, any one of the numerous axial ossicles of the arms of starfishes. See vertebral, a.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Anat.) One of the serial segments of the spinal column.
  • noun (Zoöl.) One of the central ossicles in each joint of the arms of an ophiuran.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of the small bones which make up the backbone.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun one of the bony segments of the spinal column

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Latin, from vertere, to turn; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin vertebra ("joint"), from vertere, "to turn". Having multiple vertebrae (plural of vertebra) in one's backbone instead of having a single bone or solid spine, allows for the movement of the body with bends and turns. Hence meaning 1.

Examples

  • Very good explanation of why the vertebra is probably "lost", BTW.

    Biggest sauropod ever (part…. II)

  • In the previous post I introduced the long, tedious, much-delayed technical project on MIWG. 7306, a giant brachiosaurid cervical vertebra from the Isle of Wight.

    ‘Angloposeidon’, the unreported story, part II

  • In the photo above, Luis is holding a caudal vertebra from a hadrosaurid that bears a deep score mark across its surface.

    Archive 2006-02-01

  • A giant brachiosaurid cervical vertebra from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous) of southern England.

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • A giant brachiosaurid cervical vertebra from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous) of southern England.

    Archive 2006-07-01

  • Alas, the 1060 mm that I gave in those two articles is, while not technically incorrect, not the standardised ‘total length’ of the specimen for, rather than including prezygapophysis length, the standard way of measuring a sauropod vertebra is to stick to centrum length alone.

    ‘Angloposeidon’, the unreported story, part II

  • In the previous post I introduced the long, tedious, much-delayed technical project on MIWG. 7306, a giant brachiosaurid cervical vertebra from the Isle of Wight.

    Archive 2006-07-01

  • A giant brachiosaurid cervical vertebra from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous) of southern England.

    ‘Angloposeidon’, the unreported story, part IV

  • A giant brachiosaurid cervical vertebra from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous) of southern England.

    Archive 2006-02-01

  • Alas, the 1060 mm that I gave in those two articles is, while not technically incorrect, not the standardised ‘total length’ of the specimen for, rather than including prezygapophysis length, the standard way of measuring a sauropod vertebra is to stick to centrum length alone.

    Archive 2006-07-01

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