|Diagram of the axial skeleton|
The axial skeleton consists of the bones of the head and trunk of an organism. In humans, it consists of 80 bones and is composed of eight parts; the skull bones, the ossicles of the middle ear, the hyoid bone, the rib cage, sternum and the vertebral column. The axial skeleton along with the appendicular skeleton together form the complete skeleton.
Flat bones house the brain, spinal cord, and other vital organs. This article mainly deals with the axial skeletons of humans; however, it is important to understand the evolutionary lineage of the axial skeleton. The human axial skeleton consists of 80 different bones. It is the medial core of the body and connects the pelvis to the body, where the appendix skeleton attaches. As the skeleton grows older the bones get weaker with the exception of the skull. The skull remains strong to protect the brain from injury.
The word "Axial" is taken from the word "axis" and refers to the fact that the bones are located close to or along the central "axis" of the body.
Ossicles (6 )
Hyoid bone (1) U-shape bone located in the neck. It anchors the tongue and is associated with swallowing.
Vertebral Column (26)
- Cervical vertebrae (7)
- Thoracic vertebrae (12)
- Lumbar vertebrae (5)
- Sacrum (1) (5 at birth, later fused in adult stage)
- Coccyx (1) (4 at birth, later fused to form one single bone, varies between 3-5)
Thoracic cage (25)
- "Axial skeleton". AnatomyExpert. Retrieved 15 March 2013.