Q:

How many vertebrae does a human being have?

A:

Quick Answer

A human being is born with 33 separate vertebrae, although by adulthood, that number usually shrinks to 24. This phenomenon occurs because nine vertebrae fuse together during the formative years.

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Full Answer

The vertebrae support most of the weight the spine receives. A bony projection on each side of a vertebra supports the arch that protects the spinal canal.

Seven vertebrae form the neck and make up the cervical spine. The upper back has 12 vertebrae that are collectively known as the thoracic spine. The lower back has five vertebrae and is called the lumbar spine. It is the area of the spine that bears the most weight. The sacrum and coccyx are home to the nine vertebrae that fuse together by adulthood to form a solid unit.

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