|Ligament: Nuchal ligament|
|Muscles connecting the arm to the spine seen from behind (nuchal ligament labeled in red at center)|
|Seventh cervical vertebra
(spinous process visible at bottom)
|Gray's||subject #72 290|
|From||External occipital protuberance|
|To||Spinous process of C7|
From its anterior border a fibrous lamina is given off, which is attached to the posterior tubercle of the atlas, and to the spinous processes of the cervical vertebrae, and forms a septum between the muscles on either side of the neck.
In four legged animals such as sheep and cattle the nuchal ligament is known as the paddywhack. It relieves the animal of the weight of its head. Dried paddywhack is commonly packaged and sold as a dog treat.
In most other mammals and indeed the great apes the nuchal ligament is absent or present only as a thin fascia, in some other animals, particularly ungulates, serves to sustain the weight of the head. As it is required for running, not all animals have a nuchal ligament.
In humans it is a tendon-like structure that has developed independently in humans and other animals well adapted for running.  in some other animals, particularly ungulates, serves to sustain the weight of the head.
This article uses anatomical terminology, for an overview see anatomical terminology.
- ligamentum+nuchae at eMedicine Dictionary
- Investigation of connective tissue attachments to the cervical spinal dura mater
- Drake, Richard L.; Vogl, Wayne; Tibbitts, Adam W.M. Mitchell ; illustrations by Richard; Richardson, Paul (2005). Gray's anatomy for students (Pbk. ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 978-0-443-06612-2.
- Swindler, D. R., and C. D. Wood. 1973 An Atlas of Primate Gross Anatomy. Seattle: University of Washington Press
- Dennis M. Bramble1 & Daniel E. Lieberman, Endurance running and the evolution of Homo, Nature 432, 345-352 2004