From the Latin [vertere] meaning "to turn", the term refers to one of the bones that forms the spinal column or raquis. This word was first used by Celsus  both to denote the intervertebral joint and the bone itself. The plural form of the term [vertebra] is [vertebrae].

All vertebrae are different, although they have some similarities which allows us to group them by region: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal. The image shows us a cervical vertebra, characterized by a slender, small vertebral body and two lateral openings, the transverse foramina. If you hover your cursor over the image, a thoracic vertebra will appear. Thoracic vertebrae are characterized by a heart-shaped body, the presence of articular surfaces for the ribs, etc. With few exceptions, all vertebrae have a basivertebral foramen.

Photography by D.M.Klein