Inconsistencies of the Terminologia Anatomica: First Cervical Vertebra Named with the Eponim Atlas

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Jorge Eduardo Duque Parra; John Barco Ríos & Juan Fernando Vélez García


The first cervical vertebra establishes a synovial joint with the occipital condyles, without having a fibrocartilaginous disc. This joint articulation is important for the functional anatomy of the neck, because in addition to supporting the weight of the head in humans, it allows movements of flexion, extension and lateral inclination. The first cervical vertebra is known in the Terminologia Anatomica and the Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria with the name of Atlas [C1]. The name Atlas, assigned to the first cervical vertebra, was taken from one of the titans of Greek mythology condemned by the god Zeus to support the world with the hands, head, and shoulders, so in figurative terms said vertebra is the one that sustains the cranial world. It is surprising that in the official book of the Terminolgia Anatomica and in the Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria this eponymous is maintained by a simple tradition, constituting a shameful contradiction that must be corrected and eliminated.

KEYWORDS: Atlas; Cervical vertebra; Terminology; Eponymous.

How to cite this article

DUQUE, J. E. P.; BARCO, J. R. & VÉLEZ, J. F. G. Inconsistencies of the Terminologia Anatomica: First cervical vertebra named with the eponim Atlas. Int. J. Morphol., 37(2):412- 415, 2019