So this is a really simple work.
1.) Choose an animal with or without a vertebrae. Jellyfish have tendrils, so you can probably manage something from paper if you go that direction. Cows, horses, snakes, centipedes and kitties all lend themselves very well to the segmented pieces.
2.) Trace a sideview silhouette of your form onto cardboard or balsa wood. You'll want two sides if you're going to string them together. Reflect the silhouette, trace, and cut.
3.) Divide both sides into segments. You can work three-dimensionally on this too, just form the subject matter from clay and use a wire to divide the piece into segments. Fire, and string. You might also consider a plaster mold or latex.
4.) Finally, string the pieces together to give the work some movement. Color however you like. This tyrannosaurus was painted with a custom mix of acrylic.
There is one vertebrae that stretches in-between the segments from the head to toe of the critter.