Describe how the following vertebrae are adapted to their functions - KCSE Biology Essay

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  1. Atlas
    Has a wide neural canal; to accommodate the large spinal cord at the neck region;
    Has large/broad wing-like cervical ribs; to increase the surface area for attachment of the neck muscles;
    Has facets on the anterior side; for articulation with the occipital condyles of the skull; allowing up and down movement/nodding of the head;
    Has posterior facets for articulation with the anterior facets of the axis; forming a joint that allows sideways movement of the head;

  2. Axis
    Has a broad centrum; that projects to form the odontoid process; for articulation with the neural canal of the atlas; a joint that allows turning of the head;
    Has a large and broad/flattened neural spine; and flat cervical ribs; to increase the surface area for attachment of neck muscles;

  3. Lumbar
    Has many transverse processes; and additional projections (metapophyses, hypapophyses, anapophyses); to offer a large surface area for attachment of abdominal muscles;
    Broad neural canal; to allow passage of the large spinal cord at the upper abdominal area;
    Large/thick centrum; to support the weight of the body; and withstand strains/upthrust force due to movement;

  4. Thoracic
    Long/elongated neural spine; to offer a large surface area for attachment of the large back muscles;
    Have a large centrum and neural canal; to offer support to the thoracic cage;
    Has tubercular facet on the transverse processes; to articulate with the tuberculum of the ribs; while the capitular demifacets on the centrum; articulates with the capitula of the ribs;
    Together with the ribs and the sternum form the thoracic/rib cage; for protection of heart and lungs; and for breathing process;

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