Cervical spine injuries such as wedge, burst, and tear drop fractures are often associated with compressive axial loads delivered to the human head-neck complex. Understanding the injury mechanisms, the kinematics of the anatomic structure, and the tissue tolerances can improve clinical prognosis and facilitate a better design for anthropomorphic devices. The axial compressive response of human cadaveric preparations was compared with the 50th percentile anthropomorphic Hybrid III manikin under various loading rates. Ten fresh human cadavers were used in the study. Intact cadaver torsos, head-cervical spines, and ligamentous cervical columns were tested. The head-neck structure and the neck (without head) of the Hybrid III manikin were also tested. Responses of the human cadaveric preparations and manikin structures were nonlinear at all rates of loading. However, axial stiffness, a measure of the ability of the structure to withstand external force, was higher under all rates of loading for manikin preparations when compared with the human cadaveric tissues.