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Human Skeletal System

Douglas Wilkin, Ph.D.

Jean Brainard, Ph.D.
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Printed: June 19, 2014
Douglas Wilkin, Ph.D.
Jean Brainard, Ph.D. Chapter 1. Human Skeletal System
Human Skeletal System
Give an overview of the human skeleton and its functions.
The skeletal system consists of all the bones of the body. How important are your bones?
Try to imagine what you would look like without them. You would be a soft, wobbly pile of skin, muscles, and
internal organs, so you might look something like a very large slug. Not that you would be able to see yourselffolds
of skin would droop down over your eyes and block your vision because of your lack of skull bones. You could push
the skin out of the way, if you could only move your arms, but you need bones for that as well!
The Skeleton
The human skeleton is an internal framework that, in adults, consists of 206 bones, most of which are shown in
Figure 1.1. Learn more about bones in the animation Bones Narrated:
In addition to bones, the skeleton also consists of cartilage and ligaments:
Cartilage is a type of dense connective tissue, made of tough protein bers, that provides a smooth surface
for the movement of bones at joints.
Aligament is a band of brous connective tissue that holds bones together and keeps themin place. Ligaments
connect a bone with another bone.
The human skeleton consists of bones, cartilage, and ligaments.
The skeleton supports the body and gives it shape. It has several other functions as well, including:
1. protecting internal organs
2. providing attachment surfaces for muscles
3. producing blood cells (red, white, and platelets)
4. storing minerals
5. maintaining mineral homeostasis.
Maintaining mineral homeostasis is a very important function of the skeleton, because just the right levels of
calcium and other minerals are needed in the blood for normal functioning of the body. When mineral levels in
the blood are too high, bones absorb some of the minerals and store them as mineral salts, which is why bones are
so hard. When blood levels of minerals are too low, bones release some of the minerals back into the blood, thus
restoring homeostasis.
The adult human skeleton includes 206 bones and other tissues.
The skeleton supports the body, protects internal organs, produces blood cells, and maintains mineral home-
Practice I
Use this resource to answer the questions that follow. Biology for AP* Search: Skeletons: Overview
1. What are the roles of the skeleton?
2. Describe the three types of skeletons.
2 Chapter 1. Human Skeletal System
Practice II
Skeleton Game at .
Skeletal System Quiz at .
1. What is cartilage? What is its role in the skeletal system?
2. List three functions of the human skeleton.
3. Explain how bones maintain mineral homeostasis in the body.
1. Mariana Ruiz Villarreal. . Public Domain