Humans are born with over 270 bones, some of which fuse together into a longitudinal axis, the axial skeleton, to which the appendicular skeleton is attached.
Main article: Axial skeleton
The axial skeleton (80 bones) is formed by the vertebral column (26), the rib cage (12 pairs of ribs and the sternum), and the skull (22 bones and 7 associated bones). The upright posture of humans is maintained by the axial skeleton, which transmits the weight from the head, the trunk, and the upper extremities down to the lower extremities at the hip joints. The bones of the spine are supported by many ligaments. The erectors spinae muscles are also supporting and are useful for balance.
The appendicular skeleton (126 bones) is formed by the pectoral girdles (4), the upper limbs (60), the pelvic girdle (2), and the lower limbs (60). Their functions are to make locomotion possible and to protect the major organs of locomotion, digestion, excretion, and reproduction.
The skeleton serves six major functions.
The skeleton provides the framework which supports the body and maintains its shape. The pelvis, associated ligaments and muscles provide a floor for the pelvic structures. Without the rib cages, costal cartilages, and intercostal muscles, the heart would collapse.
The joints between bones permit movement, some allowing a wider range of movement than others, e.g. the ball and socket joint allows a greater range of movement than the pivot joint at the neck. Movement is powered by skeletal muscles, which are attached to the skeleton at various sites on bones. Muscles, bones, and joints provide the principal mechanics for movement, all coordinated by the nervous system.
The skeleton protects many vital organs:
Blood cell production
The skeleton is the site of haematopoiesis, the development of blood cells that takes place in the bone marrow.
Bone matrix can store calcium and is involved in calcium metabolism, and bone marrow can store iron in ferrotin and is involved in iron metabolism. However, bones are not entirely made of calcium, but a mixture of chondroitin sulfate and hydroxyapatite, the latter making up 70% of a bone.
Bone cells release a hormone called osteocalcin, which contributes to the regulation of blood sugar (glucose) and fat deposition. Osteocalcin increases both the insulin secretion and sensitivity, in addition to boosting the number of insulin-producing cells and reducing stores of fat.
An articulated human skeleton, as used in biology education
There are many differences between the male and female human skeletons. Most prominent is the difference in the pelvis, owing to characteristics required for the processes of childbirth. The shape of a female pelvis is flatter, more rounded and proportionally larger to allow the head of a fetus to pass. A male's pelvis is about 90 degrees or less of angle, whereas a female's is 100 degrees or more. Also, the coccyx of a female's pelvis is oriented more inferiorly whereas a male's coccyx is usually oriented more anteriorly. This difference allows more room for childbirth. Males tend to have slightly thicker and longer limbs and digit bones (phalanges), while females tend to have narrower rib cages, smaller teeth, less angular mandibles, less pronounced cranial features such as the brow ridges and external occipital protuberance (the small bump at the back of the skull), and the carrying angle of the forearm is more pronounced in females. Females also tend to have more rounded shoulder blades.
There are many classified skeletal disorders. One of the most common is osteoporosis. Also common is scoliosis, a side-to-side curve in the back or spine, often creating a pronounced "C" or "S" shape when viewed on an x-ray of the spine. This condition is most apparent during adolescence, and is most common with females.
Main article: Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of bone, which leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis, the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture is disrupted, and the amount and variety of non-collagenous proteins in bone is altered. Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in women as a bone mineral density 2.5 standard deviations below peak bone mass (20-year-old sex-matched healthy person average) as measured by DXA; the term "established osteoporosis" includes the presence of a fragility fracture. Osteoporosis is most common in women after the menopause, when it is called postmenopausal osteoporosis, but may develop in men and premenopausal women in the presence of particular hormonal disorders and other chronic diseases or as a result of smoking and medications, specifically glucocorticoids, when the disease is craned steroid- or glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (SIOP or GIOP).
Osteoporosis can be prevented with lifestyle advice and medication, and preventing falls in people with known or suspected osteoporosis is an established way to prevent fractures. Osteoporosis can also be prevented with having a good source of calcium and vitamin D. Osteoporosis can be treated with bisphosphonates and various other medical treatments.
|Pectoral girdle, clavicle|
- specific ribs (1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 12, true – 1–7, false – 8–12, floating – 11–12)
- parts (Angle, Tubercle, Costal groove, Neck, Head)