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The Skeletons of a Man and a Horse placed in a lifelike pose in a museum display
Skeletons of Snakes and other reptiles

In biology, a skeleton is a rigid framework that provides protection and structure in many types of animal, particularly those of the phylum Chordata and of the superphylum Ecdysozoa. Exoskeletons are external, as is typical of many invertebrates; they enclose the soft tissues and organs of the body. Exoskeletons may undergo periodic moulting as the animal grows. Endoskeletons are internal, as is typical of many vertebrates; they are usually surrounded by skin and musculature, though they often enclose vital organs. Endoskeletons are attachment points for musculature and act as leverage for movement, and in many animals contain marrow, which produces blood cells. Skeletons may or may not be mineralized – human skeletons are calcified, while shark skeletons are cartilaginous – and may be jointed for flexibility and motility or rigid for structural strength.

The average adult human skeleton has around 206 bones.[1] These bones meet at joints, the majority of which are freely movable. The skeleton also contains cartilage for elasticity. Ligaments are strong strips of fibrous connective tissue that hold bones together at joints, thereby stabilizing the skeleton during movement.

Contents

The Human Skull

The human skull shapes the head and face, protects the brain, and houses and protects special sense organs for taste, smell, hearing, vision, and balance. It is constructed from 22 bones, 21 of which are locked together by immovable joints, to form a structure of great strength.

The bony framework of the head is called the skull, and it is subdivided into 2 parts, namely:

Cranial bones

The eight bones of the cranium support, surround and protect the brain within the cranial cavity. They form the roof, sides, and back of the cranium, as well as the cranial floor on which the brain rests. The frontal bones and the parietal bones form the roof and sides of the cranium. Two in the temporal bone, the external auditory meatus, directs sounds into the inner part of the ear that is encased within, and which contains three small, linked bones called ossicles. The occipital bones forms the posterior part of the cranium and much of the cranial floor. The occipital bone has a large opening, the foramen magnum, through which the brain connects to the spinal cord. The occipital condyles articulate with the atlas (first cervical vertebra), enabling nodding movements of the head. The ethmoid bone forms part of the cranial floor, the medial walls of the orbits, and the upper parts of the nasal septum, which divides the nasal cavity vertical into left and right sides, The sphenoid bone, which is shaped like a bat's wings, acts as a keystone by articulating with and holding together, all the other cranial bones.

Facial bones

The 14 (mainly 7 on each side) facial bones form the framework of the face; provide cavities for the sense organs of smell, taste, and vision; anchor the teeth; form openings for the passage of food, water, and air; and provide attachment points for the muscles that produce facial expressions. Two maxillae form the upper jaw, contain sockets for the 16 upper teeth, and link all other facial bones apart from the mandible (lower jaw). Two zygomatic bones (cheekbones), form the prominences of the cheeks and part of the lateral margins of the orbits. Two lacrimal bones form part of the medial wall of each orbit. Two nasal bones form the bridge of the nose. Two palatine bones from the posterior side walls of the nasal cavity and posterior part of the hard palate. Two inferior nasal conchae form part of the lateral wall of the nasal cavity. The vomer forms part of the nasal septum. The mandible, the only skull bone that is able to move, articulates with the temporal bone allowing the mouth to open and close, and provides anchorage for the 16 lower teeth.

Sinuses

Sinuses are air-filled bubbles found in the frontal, sphenoid, ethmoid, and paired maxillae, clustered around the nasal cavity. These spaces reduce the overall weight of the skull.

Skull development

In the fetus, skull bones are formed by intramembranous ossification. A fibrous membrane ossifies to form skull bones linked by areas of as yet unossifed areas of membrane called fontanelles. At birth, these flexible areas allow the head to be slightly compressed, and permit brain growth during early infancy. These are named the anterior (Frontal) fontanelle, posterior (Occipital) fontanelle, anterolateral (Sphenoidal)fontanelle, and the posterolateral (Mastoid) fontanelle.

Ribs

The ribs are curved, flat bones with a slightly twisted shaft. The 12 pairs of ribs form a ribcage that protects the heart, lungs, major blood vessels, stomach, liver, etc. At its posterior end, the head of each rib articulates with the facets on the centra of adjacent vertebrae, and with a facet on a transverse process. These vertebrocostal joints are plane joints that allow gliding movements. At their anterior ends, the upper ten pairs of ribs attach directly or indirectly to the sternum by flexible costal cartilages. Together, vertebrocostal joints and costal cartilages give the ribcage sufficient flexibility to make movements up and down during breathing. Ribs 1–7 are called "true ribs". Ribs 8–12 are called "false ribs" of which ribs 11 and 12 are "floating" ribs that articulate with the sternum indirectly via the costal cartilage of another rib or not.

Limbs

A limb (from the Old English lim)[citation needed] is a jointed or prehensile (as octopus tentacles or new world monkey tails), appendage of the human or animal body.

Most animals use limbs for locomotion, such as walking, running, or climbing. Some animals can use their front limbs (or upper limbs in humans) to carry and manipulate objects. Some animals can also use hind limbs for manipulation.

In the human body, the upper and lower limbs are commonly called the arms and the legs. Human legs and feet are specialized for two-legged locomotion; however, most other mammals walk and run on all four limbs. Human arms are weaker, but very mobile, allowing us to reach at a wide range of distances and angles. The arms end in specialized hands that are capable of grasping and fine manipulation of objects. Femur, Humerus, Radius and Ulna, Cranium, Sternum, Clavicle, Fibula and Tibia, Vertebrae, Scapula, Pelvic bone, and Coccyx.

Animal skeletons

Human Human skull Australopithecus Neanderthal Chimpanzee Baboon Colobinae Gorilla Wild Boar Cattle Lion Gray Wolf Horse Elephant Goat Hippopotamidae Camel Kangaroo Antelope Walrus Bat Whale Eagle True parrot Chicken Rooster Toucan Casuariidae Penguin Crane Reptile Snake Crotalinae Boa constrictor Crocodile Lizard Testudines Frog Salamander Perch Sturgeon Triggerfish Batoidea Esox
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See also

References

  1. ^ Human Skeleton, EnchantedLearning.com, 2008-05-07.

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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MAJOR BONES IN THE SKELETAL SYSTEM

A human skeleton

CRANIUM (Skull)

MANDIBLE (Jaw)

CLAVICLE (Collar Bone)

SCAPULA (Shoulder Blade)

STERNUM

RIB CAGE

HUMERUS

ULNA

RADIUS

CARPALS

METACARPALS

PHALANGES (Fingers/Toes)

VERTEBRAE (Back Bone)

SACRUM

FEMUR (Thigh)

PATELLA (Knee)

TIBIA (Shin)

FIBULA

TARSALS

METATARSALS








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