The series of vertebrae extending from the base of the skull to the tip of the tail that forms the supporting axis of the body in vertebrate animals. In humans and tailless apes, the vertebral column ends with the coccyx (tailbone). It encloses and protects the spinal cord and provides a stable attachment for the muscles of the trunk. Also called backbone
(plural vertebral columns)
- (anatomy) The series of vertebrae that protect the spinal cord; the spinal column.