Anatomy Atlas Part 1 – Spine

This first in a series of human anatomy sheets that I have drawn during my studies.  As future biology teacher I had to acquire some basic knowledge about most of biology – sort of  jack of all trades, master of none. However our class was one of the last where human anatomy was taught by a prominent Czech physician and scientist Profesor MuDr. Jaroslav Kos. He was eighty years old at that time and it was showing, however he still was formidable and very strict. I failed my first exam miserably, I do not even remember what the theme of the examination was. I think brain stem? Nevermind, it took me two attempts to pass and for the second attempt I really sat and learned latin like my life depended on it. He did not even let me finish on my second attempt  and waved me away with top grade after I described how  nervus olfactorius consists of multiple separated fila going straight through lamina cribosa directly into the bulbus olfactorius of the brain. I forgot most of my medical latin over time, but I still remember this.

Spine Drawing

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

A fun fact about spine – the “S” shape of our spine and all accompanying problems it brings stem from the fact that it originally evolved for movement in water and later on land with lateral undulations, which was later yet modified for movement on land on all four with vertical undulations, which was even later modified for upright movement on hind limbs only. The spine was definitively not intelligently designed for vertical posture and load bearing. Evolution has done its best, but that is always “just enough”.


  1. kestrel says

    Wonderful drawings, and a wonderful tale to go with it. And that is fascinating about the spine!

  2. says

    That’s beautiful work! Anatomy has always been one of the more fun and fascinating aspects of being an artist, for me at least.

    Evolution has done its best, but that is always “just enough”.

    In my case, it’s not even “just enough”. Spines go bad so easily.

  3. Raucous Indignation says

    Caine, are you familiar with the work of Dr Frank Netter? He hand painted his illustrations. They are remarkable in their artistry and accuracy.

  4. voyager says

    I really enjoyed reading this and your drawings are beautiful. I learned about the spine when I was quite young because of a congenital scoliosis.
    I look forward to future posts.

  5. says


    I learned about the spine when I was quite young because of a congenital scoliosis.

    Oh ouch. Not the best way to learn about the spine.

  6. says

    @Ice Swimmer @voyager

    congenital scoliosis

    There is two of us. Mine is not very bad (not yet, but it will get worse with age). I am mostly without problems if I do not overwork myself and it is one of the reasons why I have spent over 600,-€ on PC chair last year. Mostly I notice it because the first sign of a flu or cold for me is not sneezing or cough or fever, but back pain. And of course backpain is also the first sign that I have been working a wee too much.

  7. Raucous Indignation says

    I used his Atlas of Human Anatomy, but I don’t have any of his other texts. One day I shall get a complete edition of the “Green Books.” Not now though; we need to re-do the kitchen.

  8. Ice Swimmer says

    I didn’t say anything about scoliosis, which I don’t have, but I can say ouch.

    The sheet would be usable as teaching material in all places where Latin alphabet is used.

  9. says

    @Ice Swimmer, yup, you did not say anything, only my brain got awfully confused there. Don’t ask me why, because I do not know.

  10. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 10

    It’s all right, I won’t ask, shit happens. I’ve just always been fussy about things like these and a bit disturbed about names pointing to multiple or wrong people.

    I can just imagine the drawing copied onto a overhead projector transparency sheet and there being another sheet with the vulgar names of the bones and their parts.

  11. voyager says

    Charley, I was placed into body casts when I was 1 year old because I was also born with a congenital hip dysplasia. I had a series of casts which were changed every six weeks for 2 years. Thankfully, I don’t remember any of it. After that I wore something called Dennis Brown splints until I was five. I remember some of that. Once the splints came off though, I was able to walk more or less straight and pain free as long as I wore ugly supportive shoes and didn’t do anything stupid. It’s caught up with me now, though. I’m in my late 50’s and it’s easy to see that my spine is crooked. My hips are uneven and getting more so. I also get back pain and agree that medical aids are expensive.

  12. says

    Voyager, I was in full leg splints until I was 3 years old, thanks to the twin gifts of bow-leggedness and being pigeon toed.

  13. says

    Cool, you can edit your comments. It’s really strange, that little edit by the comments, I swear I didn’t see it at all for a month when I started Affinity.

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