The Skeleton is a framework of bones that is held together by ligaments and joints, and has the following four functions:
The joints of the skeleton, where two or more bones come together, allows some movement depending upon the type of joint and the types of bone. These variations will determine the kind of movement there can be.
The skeleton forms protection around some of the more delicate organs ofthe body. An example of this is the skull that protects the brain.
The skeleton provides the body with a rigid structure that gives it its shape. Muscles are attached to the skeletons outside while the vital organs are attached to the inside.
Red and white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, a substance found inside the larger bones of the body.
There are two parts to the skeleton; the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton:
The axial skeleton
This consists of the skull, the rib cage and the vertebral column. The skull is made of eight flat bones that fuse together over time.
The vertebral column or spine is built of 24 movable vertebrae and two groups of fused vertebrae. The vertebrae are grouped together to form different parts of the vertebral column and have particular purposes. (See diagram).
The rib cage consists of 12 pairs of ribs that help protect vital organs and, along with their associated muscle group, is part of the breathing mechanism.
The appendicular skeleton
This is made up from the pelvic girdle and the shoulder girdle. Both these girdles are quite rigid but they are attached to legs and arms that are free to move.
There are four types of bone and each type is given a name dependant of its shape or size.
|Type of Bone||Example|
|Long bones||The Humerus|
|Short bones||The Phalanges|
|Flat bones||The Scapula|
|Irregular bones||The Vertebrae|
Major bones of the skeleton