Features of typical cervical vertebrae C3-C6 and of C7
The body is small, wide and oval in shape – it does not have to carry as much weight as vertebrae lower down the column. The upper surface of the body is concave transversely while the lower surface is concave along the anteroposterior axis.
The raised superior edges of the body form the uncinate processes, which articulate with the adjacent vertebra. These are an extra area of articulation and only found in animals that can rotate their head, rather than just sway their heads like cattle.
Cervical C1 Atlas
The atlas is the first cervical vertebra. It is a ring of bone and is very different from a ‘typical’ vertebra, with specific anatomical features shown below.
Features of atlas C1
Transverse Atlantal Ligament
The transverse atlantal ligament stretches across the ring of the atlas and divides the vertebral foramen into two unequal parts. The smaller, anterior part receives the odontoid process of the axis; the posterior part transmits the spinal cord and its membranes.