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The Skeleton


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    The skeleton is the foundation, our 'solid blocks'. It shapes the human body and, with contractile elements (the muscles) around the joints, allows for controlled movement. Without the skeleton, we would be crawling around like many invertebrates (worm, star-fish or octopus for example). Other invertebrates, like insect or crustacean, have an external skeleton made of protein material (little like our nails); but unlike our bones which are made of minerals.

Crane Crane Spinal cord Spinal cord Thorax Thorax Spinal cord Arm Arm Arm Arm Hip Hip Leg Leg Hand Hand Hand Hand Foot Foot Foot Foot Forearm Forearm Forearm Forearm
General view of the skeleton.

    Bones are the most solid 'parts' in our body. They are mostly made out of calcium and other minerals. They resist time better than any other tissue. Bones could be classified into different categories: 1) the flat bones like the ones of your skull, 2) the long bones like the ones in your arms and legs, 3) the short bones like the ones in your wrists and ankle, and 4) others irregular bones like the mandibles, the ossicle, the vertebrae and the patella.

    Our bones are linked to each other; either by being embedded into each other, using a suture-like pattern, and glued with collagen. This is the case for the skull bones. Or, they could be joined, end to end, using tendons to wrap around the joint, holding two bones together and allowing a rage of movement. Heads and tails of muscles attached themselves around the joint, and when the muscle contract this pulls on the attached bone.

    The human skeleton is composed of 206 bones, all linked together:

Crane 22
Vertebral column 26
Rib Cage 26
Arms and Shoulders 64
Hip, Legs and Feet 62
Auricular ossicle 6
Total 206
Top of the page.      TEXT© 2000-2015 René St-Jacques