The teleost backbone consists of amphicoelous vertebrae and intervertebral ligaments, both of which include notochord-derived structures. On the basis of a sequential developmental study of the vertebral column of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) from the egg stage up to early fry stage (300–2500 day-degrees) we show that the vertebral body consists of four layers or compartments, two of which are formed through mineralization of preformed collagenous tissue (the notochordal sheath and the intervertebral ligament) and two of which are formed through ossification. The three inner layers have ordered lamellar collagen matrixes, which alternate perpendicularly from layer to layer, whereas the outer layer consists of cancellous bone with a woven matrix. The bone layers also differ in osteocyte content. In this study we describe the structural details of the layers, and their modes of formation. The results are compared with previous descriptions, and possible phylogenetic implications are discussed.