Why is the first cervical vertebra, C1, called the atlas?

Bones and Muscles Read more from
Chapter Human Body

The clavicle (collarbone) is probably one of the most frequently fractured bones in the body due to its vulnerable position and relative thinness. Fractured clavicles are caused by either a direct blow or a transmitted force resulting from a fall on the outstretched arm.

The first cervical vertebra is called the atlas after the Greek god Atlas, who was condemned to carry the earth and heavens on his shoulders. This vertebra has a ringlike structure with a large central opening and supports the head.


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