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Vertebra vs. Vertebrae: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 20, 2024
"Vertebra" refers to a single bone in the spine, while "vertebrae" is the plural form, denoting multiple spinal bones.
Vertebra vs. Vertebrae

Key Differences

The term "Vertebra" refers to a single bone in the spinal column, an essential part of the vertebrate skeletal system. In contrast, "Vertebrae" is the plural form, used when referring to multiple spinal bones collectively.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 20, 2024
Each "Vertebra" is a distinct and separate entity, contributing to the flexibility and movement of the spine. "Vertebrae," on the other hand, denotes a series or a group of these bones, emphasizing their collective function and structure.
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Jan 20, 2024
A "Vertebra" can be identified by its characteristic ring-like structure and its role in protecting the spinal cord. The term "Vertebrae" encompasses all such bones, from the cervical to the lumbar region, forming the vertebral column.
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When discussing spinal injuries or conditions, doctors may refer to a specific "Vertebra" to pinpoint the location of the issue. In broader discussions about spinal health or anatomy, "Vertebrae" is used to reference the spine as a whole.
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Understanding the difference between "Vertebra" and "Vertebrae" is crucial in medical contexts, as it helps in accurately describing spinal segments, whether it's a single bone or multiple bones.
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Comparison Chart

Number

Singular
Plural
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Definition

One bone in the spine
Multiple bones in the spine
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Usage Context

Refers to a single spinal bone
Refers to the collective spinal bones
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Example

"The MRI revealed a fracture in the L4 vertebra."
"Her vertebrae were healthy and showed no signs of degeneration."
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Anatomical Reference

Specific location in the spine (e.g., Cervical vertebra)
General reference to the spine (e.g., Cervical vertebrae)
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Vertebra and Vertebrae Definitions

Vertebra

Each vertebra is a cylindrical bone in vertebrates.
The vertebra was examined for signs of osteoporosis.
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Vertebrae

Vertebrae collectively protect the spinal cord.
The vertebrae encase and safeguard the spinal cord.
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Vertebra

A vertebra comprises the vertebral body, arch, and processes.
She learned about the structure of a vertebra in her anatomy class.
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Vertebrae

Vertebrae provide structural support to the body.
Aging can affect the density of the vertebrae.
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Vertebra

A vertebra is one of the small bones that form the backbone.
He broke a vertebra in a skiing accident.
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Vertebrae

Vertebrae are interconnected and facilitate movement.
Yoga helps in maintaining the flexibility of the vertebrae.
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Vertebra

A vertebra supports the body and provides attachment for muscles.
The athlete's strong muscles were supported by each robust vertebra.
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Vertebrae

Vertebrae are the series of vertebra forming the backbone.
The X-ray showed that his vertebrae were aligned correctly.
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Vertebra

Vertebra refers to any of the bones in the spinal column.
The surgeon removed a damaged vertebra.
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Vertebrae

Vertebrae refer to the entire set of spinal bones.
Her condition involved the lower vertebrae.
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Vertebra

Any of the segments, composed of cartilage in cartilaginous fishes and of bone in other vertebrates, that form the spinal column.
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Vertebrae

Any of the segments, composed of cartilage in cartilaginous fishes and of bone in other vertebrates, that form the spinal column.
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Vertebra

(skeleton) Any of the bony or cartilaginous segments which make up the backbone, consisting in some lower vertebrates of several distinct elements which never become united, and in higher vertebrates having a short more or less cylindrical body whose ends articulate by pads of elastic or cartilaginous tissue with those of adjacent vertebrae and a bony arch that encloses the spinal cord.
Anticlinal vertebra
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Vertebrae

; the bones that make up the spinal column.
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Vertebra

One of the serial segments of the spinal column.
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Vertebra

One of the central ossicles in each joint of the arms of an ophiuran.
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Vertebra

One of the bony segments of the spinal column
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What are Vertebrae?

The plural term for two or more spinal bones.
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Do all mammals have the same number of Vertebrae?

No, the number varies among different species.
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What is a Vertebra?

A single bone in the spine.
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How many Vertebrae does a human have?

Typically, humans have 33 vertebrae.
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How are Vertebrae classified?

Based on their location: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal.
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Can Vertebrae fuse naturally?

Yes, especially in the sacral and coccygeal regions.
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What connects the Vertebrae?

Intervertebral discs, ligaments, and facet joints.
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How is a Vertebra different from other bones?

Its unique structure with a vertebral body, arch, and processes.
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Can a Vertebra be repaired if damaged?

Yes, depending on the injury, a vertebra can be surgically repaired.
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What is the function of a Vertebra?

To support the body and protect the spinal cord.
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What is the collective term for Vertebrae?

The vertebral column or spine.
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Can Vertebrae be affected by arthritis?

Yes, particularly in the facet joints.
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What is a common disorder affecting the Vertebrae?

Conditions like osteoporosis and herniated discs.
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How does aging affect Vertebrae?

It can lead to wear and tear, resulting in conditions like spinal stenosis.
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Are all Vertebrae the same size?

No, their size varies depending on their location in the spine.
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Can Vertebrae deformities be corrected?

Yes, through surgery or orthopedic interventions.
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How are Vertebrae identified in medical terms?

By their position: C1-C7 for cervical, T1-T12 for thoracic, etc.
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What is a herniated disc in relation to Vertebrae?

A condition where the disc between vertebrae bulges or ruptures.
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Are Vertebrae visible on an X-ray?

Yes, they are clearly visible, allowing for diagnosis of spinal issues.
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What role do Vertebrae play in movement?

They allow flexibility and motion of the spine.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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