Atlas (anatomy)

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Bone: Atlas (anatomy)
First cervical vertebra, or Atlas
Posterior atlantoöccipital membrane and atlantoaxial ligament. (Atlas visible at center.)
Gray's subject #21 99
Dorlands/Elsevier a_70/12167134

In anatomy, the atlas is the top cervical vertebra (neck bones) of the spine. In anatomy, the atlas is written (C1) for short.

It is named for the Atlas of mythology, because it supports the head in the same way as Atlas held the world on his shoulders.

The atlas connects to a vertebra called the axis. Together they form the joint connecting the skull to the rest of the spine. The atlas and axis are different in shape from all the other vertebrae. They have more movement. They allow the head to nod and to rotate (turn).