Explore the Difference Between Spinal Cord and Backbone

The difference between Spinal Cord and Backbone is easy to understand:

  • Spinal Cord is the tube-like structure which consists of bundles of nerve fibers. It is covered by the meninges and is surrounded by the cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Backbone or the spinal column is the central axis of the skeleton in all vertebrates. In a newborn human, there are about 33 bones that make up the spinal column. By the time the newborn becomes an adult, the number of bones reduces to 24 as they fuse during normal growth and development.

Moreover, the spinal cord is protected by the spinal column. In this article, we shall explore more differences between the two:

Difference Between Spinal Cord and Backbone

Spinal Cord

Backbone

Composition

Made up of bundles of nerve fibers

The backbone is made of bones called vertebrae

Function

Spinal cord acts as pathways for communication between the brain and the body

The backbone serves to provide structural support as well as support the body’s weight. It is also tasked with protecting the spinal cord

Segments

The spinal cord forms 31 segments, which are divided into 8 cervical nerves, 5 lumbar nerves, 12 thoracic nerves, 1 coccygeal nerve and 5 sacral nerves

The backbone can be split into 5 major segments – the cervical spine, the thoracic spine and the lumbar spine, sacrum and coccyx. Cervical spine is made up of 7 bones called vertebrae. Thoracic spine has 12 vertebrae and the lumbar spine and 5 vertebrae.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Spinal Cord and Backbone

What is the difference between Spinal Cord and Backbone ?

The spinal cord is the tube-like structure that is made up of nerve fibers bundles. It is covered by the meninges and is surrounded by the cerebrospinal fluid. On the other hand, the backbone or the spinal column is the central axis of the skeleton in all vertebrates. In a newborn human, there are about 33 bones that make up the spinal column. By the time the newborn becomes an adult, the number of bones reduces to 24 as they fuse during normal growth and development.

Explore more about details about the spinal cord, backbone or other related topics by registering with BYJU’S Biology.

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