Nature of the ascending and descending processes.
The ascending (d in figs. 9 and 11 and nos. 3 and 4 in fig. 8) and
descending (g in figs. 6, 7,
9, 11) processes
[p. articularis superior]
[p. articularis inferior],
which the vertebrae are articulated to each other, are similar in all the neck
vertebrae below the second; the second also has descending processes not unlike
those of the other vertebrae. Those that face downward and are joined to the
vertebra beneath possess a circular depression
[facies articularis inferior] not at
all deeply carved, leading from the anterior surface obliquely downward to the
posterior. The ascending processes, which are articulated to the vertebra
above, have a rounded tubercule that bulges so lightly and superficially that
you would not know whether to assign it to the number of capita or depressions.
This tubercule of the ascending processes
[facies articularis superior]
matches the depression and is coated with cartilage
[c. articularis] like the
depressions, running downward from the anterior surface posteriorly and
somewhat obliquely as well — something not to be considered in a cursory way.
For that oblique course in the vertebrae of the neck which are nearer to the
thorax always turns out smaller and straighter along the longitude of the body
because those vertebrae should not be moved so
loosely as the upper vertebrae and therefore should not be so loosely
articulated. And so the ascending processes enter the depressions of the
descending processes with their own tubercule, and the second vertebra of the
neck is attached to the third by a double joint
[articulationes zygapophysiales] as
the third is to the fourth, and so all the rest in order as far as the thorax.
The seventh receives the ascending processes of the first vertebra of the
But Nature not only gave
looser joints to the neck vertebrae: she also, so that the neck can be moved
more conveniently and fittingly than the remaining parts of the backbone and
with a remarkable and most necessary usefulness, bestows on the vertebrae of
the neck another special capacity.