October 22, 2012

Spiny goodness

Oops, I forgot the lumbar spine

Did you know that we aren't born with all three curves in our spine? Nope, we're born with one. We add our second when we learn to lift up our heads. You can see this second curve in James' neck or cervical spine area, above. Our last curve is in the lumbar spine or lower back and we add this one once we learn to stand.

This is the final ready-for-colour drawing for my first Anatomy class project. My chosen topic was, "Things that loop and link and how that is like a spine." Really it was just an excuse to draw more James but with added anatomical fun. Instead, it was hard! From poring over pictures of infant and adult anatomy, I learned that our ribcages aren't just a series of loops threaded through our breastbone and spine. It turns out that on each side we have two floating ribs, four ribs that are attached to each other (but not to the spine) and six ribs that are hooked to the spine.

And then I dumbly chose this three-quarter profile view instead of doing the relatively easy face-on or profile view. Did you know that there are virtually no three-quarter profile views of the skeleton online? Well, go figure, neither did I. So this is what I think an infant's rib cage looks like from this angle. Our ribs have interesting curves and twists and since I didn't have the time to learn them I simplified the anatomy for this exercise.

It's really neat how our ribs loop around the spine. Now I notice this pattern everywhere. Curtain rods, wheels and axles, spinning tops (well, in principle), woven things...

We have a terrific children's book called A House Is A House For Me. The poem talks about everyone's houses -- a lion's cave, a sheep's barn -- and expands from there with wild whimsy. A glove is a house for a hand, a tea cup is a house for tea. By the end of it the writer says that once you begin to look you start to see houses everywhere.

from A House Is A House For Me illustrated by Betty Fraser (Author: Mary Ann Hoberman)
It's a bit like that with ribs and spines, but I can't get as far with it.

A ring is a rib for a finger.
A bracelet is a rib for a wrist.
A necklace is a rib for a neck and
a garland is a rib for a tree.
A padlock is a rib for a doorlatch,
a ribbon's a rib for a gift,
a clothesline's a rib for my laundry, and...?


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