Skeletal system is the biological system providing support in living organisms.
Skin, muscle and bones allow movement. Skin - pliable covering. Muscles do actual moving. Bones give anchor to move against.
The skeleton functions not only as the support for the body but also in haematopoiesis, the manufacture of blood cells that takes place in bone marrow. This is why people who have cancer of the bone marrow almost always die. It is also necessary for protection of vital organs and is needed by the muscles for movement.
The human skeleton consists of both fused and individual bones supported and supplemented by ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage. It serves as a scaffold which supports organs, anchors muscles, and protects organs such as the brain, lungs and heart.
The biggest bone in the body is the femur in the thigh and the smallest is the stapes bone in the middle ear. In an adult, the skeleton comprises around 30–40% of the total body weight, and half of this weight is water.
Fused bones include those of the pelvis and the cranium. Not all bones are interconnected directly: there are three bones in each middle ear called the ossicles that articulate only with each other. The hyoid bone, which is located in the neck and serves as the point of attachment for the tongue, does not articulate with any other bones in the body, being supported by muscles and ligaments.
Early in gestation, a fetus has a cartilaginous skeleton from which the long bones and most other bones gradually form throughout the remaining gestation period and for years after birth in a process called endochondral ossification. The flat bones of the skull and the clavicles are formed from connective tissue in a process known as intramembranous ossification, and ossification of the mandible occurs in the fibrous membrane covering the outer surfaces of Meckel's cartilages. At birth, a newborn baby has over 300 bones, whereas on average an adult... [continues]
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