The main difference between backbone and spine is that backbone is a more informal term for the vertebral column whereas spine is a more formal term for the vertebral column. However, both terms can describe the vertebral column, which is a series of vertebrae separated by intervertebral disks. The main function of the vertebral column is to enclose and protect the spinal cord. In addition, the vertebral column is the main distinguishing feature of vertebrates.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Backbone
– Definition, Significance, Function
2. What is a Spine
– Definition, Significance, Function
3. What are the Similarities Between Backbone and Spine
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Backbone and Spine
– Comparison of Key Differences
Backbone, Spinal Cord, Spine, Vertebral Column, Vertebrae, Vertebrates
What is a Backbone
Backbone is another name used to describe the vertebral column. The vertebral column is a flexible column which extends from the neck to the tail of the body of vertebrates. Typically, the presence of a vertebral column is the main feature used to differentiate vertebrates from other chordates. Generally, chordates develop a notochord; in vertebrates, this notochord can be identified only during the embryonic development. It develops into the vertebral column later. Furthermore, the vertebral column is a bony structure and it is made up of a series of vertebrae grouped as cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal vertebrae. Humans have 33 vertebrae in their backbone.
Moreover, the main function of the vertebral column or backbone is to house the spinal canal; inside this canal, the spinal cord runs from head to the tail. Therefore, it provides protection to the spinal cord and provides sites for the nerves to arise from the spinal cord. Actually, the spinal cord is one of the two components of the central nervous system while the second component is the brain. Here, the backbone provides sites for the attachment of muscles such as pectoral and pelvic girdles and many muscles. Furthermore, the backbone transmits body weight towards the pelvis while standing and walking.
What is the Spine
Spine is also another name for the vertebral column. In other words, it refers to a series of vertebrae extending from the skull to the end of the back, enclosing the spinal cord and providing support for the thorax and abdomen. However, it is more formal than the term ‘backbone’ while describing this structure. Spinal column is one of the other names for the same structure.
Similarities Between Backbone and Spine
- Backbone and spine are two terms that describe the vertebral column.
- This structure occurs in the dorsal side of the vertebrate body.
- It is a column of bony vertebrae separated by discs.
- Also, the main function of this structure is to protect the spinal cord and to provide structural support to the body.
Difference Between Backbone and Spine
- The main difference between backbone and spine is that backbone is the more informal term for the vertebral column while the spine is the more formal term.
Backbone is the more informal term to describe the vertebral column, which is the most distinguishing feature of the vertebrate body. It is made up of a series of vertebrae separated by intervertebral disks. On the other hand, the spine is the more formal term used to describe the vertebral column. Therefore, the main difference between backbone and spine is the usage of the term.
1. Highsmith, Jason M. “Vertebral Column: Backbone of the Spine.” SpineUniverse, Vertical Health, LLC, Available Here.
1. “Illu vertebral column” By SEER (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
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