Cervical Vertebrae Posterior
In vertebrates, cervical vertebrae (singular: vertebra) are those vertebrae immediately inferior to the skull. Thoracic vertebrae in all mammalian species are defined as those vertebrae that also carry a pair of ribs, and lie caudal to the cervical vertebrae. Further they caudally follow the lumbar vertebrae, which also belong to the trunk, but they do not carry ribs. In reptiles, all trunk vertebrae carry ribs and are called dorsal vertebrae. The pedicles are directed laterally and backward, and are attached to the body midway between its upper and lower borders, so that the superior vertebral notch is as deep as the inferior, but it is, at the same time, narrower. By convention, the cervical vertebrae are numbered, with the first one (C1) located closest to the skull and higher numbered vertebrae (C2-C7) proceeding away from the skull and down the spine. The general characteristics of the third through sixth cervical vertebrae are described here. The first, second, and seventh vertebrae are extraordinary, and are detailed later.