Human skeleton

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"Bone structure" and "Skeletal system" redirect here. For the skeletal system in other animals, see Skeleton.
Human skeleton
Human skeleton front en.svg
Diagram of the human skeleton
Details
Greek σκελετός
Anatomical terminology

The human skeleton is the internal framework of the body. It is composed of 270 bones at birth – this total decreases to 206 bones by adulthood after some bones have fused together.[1] The bone mass in the skeleton reaches maximum density around age 30. The human skeleton can be divided into the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton is formed by the vertebral column, the rib cage and the skull. The appendicular skeleton, which is attached to the axial skeleton, is formed by the pectoral girdle, the pelvic girdle and the bones of the upper and lower limbs.

The human skeleton serves six major functions; support, movement, protection, production of blood cells, storage of ions and endocrine regulation.

The human skeleton is not as sexually dimorphic as that of many other primate species, but subtle differences between sexes in the morphology of the skull, dentition, long bones, and pelves exist. In general, female skeletal elements tend to be smaller and less robust than corresponding male elements within a given population. The human female pelvis is also different from that of males in order to facilitate child birth.[citation needed] Unlike most other primates, human males do not have penile bones.[2]

Divisions

Axial skeleton

Main article: Axial skeleton

The axial skeleton (80 bones) is formed by the vertebral column (32–34 bones; the number of the vertebrae differs from human to human as the lower 2 parts, sacral and coccygeal bone may vary in length), the rib cage (12 pairs of ribs and the sternum), and the skull (22 bones and 7 associated bones).

The upright posture of humans is maintained by the axial skeleton, which transmits the weight from the head, the trunk, and the upper extremities down to the lower extremities at the hip joints. The bones of the spine are supported by many ligaments. The erectors spinae muscles are also supporting and are useful for balance.

A human is able to survive with just the axial portion of their skeleton.

Appendicular skeleton

Main article: Appendicular skeleton

The appendicular skeleton (126 bones) is formed by the pectoral girdles, the upper limbs, the pelvic girdle or pelvis, and the lower limbs. Their functions are to make locomotion possible and to protect the major organs of digestion, excretion and reproduction.

Functions

A human skeleton on exhibit at The Museum of Osteology, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The skeleton serves six major functions; support, movement, protection, production of blood cells, storage of minerals and endocrine regulation.

Support

The skeleton provides the framework which supports the body and maintains its shape. The pelvis, associated ligaments and muscles provide a floor for the pelvic structures. Without the rib cages, costal cartilages, and intercostal muscles, the lungs would collapse.

Movement

The joints between bones allow movement, some allowing a wider range of movement than others, e.g. the ball and socket joint allows a greater range of movement than the pivot joint at the neck. Movement is powered by skeletal muscles, which are attached to the skeleton at various sites on bones. Muscles, bones, and joints provide the principal mechanics for movement, all coordinated by the nervous system.

Protection

The skeleton helps protect our many vital internal organs from being damaged.

Blood cell production

The skeleton is the site of haematopoiesis, the development of blood cells that takes place in the bone marrow. In children, haematopoiesis occurs primarily in the marrow of the long bones such as the femur and tibia. In adults, it occurs mainly in the pelvis, cranium, vertebrae, and sternum.[3]

Storage

The bone matrix can store calcium and is involved in calcium metabolism, and bone marrow can store iron in ferritin and is involved in iron metabolism. However, bones are not entirely made of calcium, but a mixture of chondroitin sulfate and hydroxyapatite, the latter making up 70% of a bone. Hydroxyapatite is in turn composed of 39.8% of calcium, 41.4% of oxygen, 18.5% of phosphorus, and 0.2% of hydrogen by mass. Chondroitin sulfate is a sugar made up primarily of oxygen and carbon.

Endocrine regulation

Bone cells release a hormone called osteocalcin, which contributes to the regulation of blood sugar (glucose) and fat deposition. Osteocalcin increases both the insulin secretion and sensitivity, in addition to boosting the number of insulin-producing cells and reducing stores of fat.[4]

Sex differences

Anatomical differences between human males and females are highly pronounced in some soft tissue areas, but tend to be limited in the skeleton. The human skeleton is not as sexually dimorphic as that of many other primate species, but subtle differences between sexes in the morphology of the skull, dentition, long bones, and pelves (sing. pelvis) are exhibited across human populations. In general, female skeletal elements tend to be smaller and less robust than corresponding male elements within a given population.

Skull

A variety of gross morphological traits of the human skull demonstrate sexual dimorphism, such as the nuchal crest, mastoid processes, supraorbital margin, supraorbital ridge, and mental eminence.[5]

Dentition

Human inter-sex dental dimorphism centers on the canines, but it is not nearly as pronounced as in the other great apes.

Long bones

Long bones are generally larger in males than in females within a given population. Muscle attachment sites on long bones are often more robust in males than in females, reflecting a difference in overall muscle mass and development between sexes. Sexual dimorphism in the long bones is commonly characterized by morphometric or gross morphological analyses.

Pelvis

Human pelves exhibit greater sexual dimorphism than other bones, specifically in the size and shape of the pelvic cavity, ilia, greater sciatic notches, and the sub-pubic angle. The Phenice method is commonly used to determine the sex of an unidentified human skeleton by anthropologists with 96% to 100% accuracy in some populations.[6]

Disorders

See also: Bone disease

There are many classified skeletal disorders. One of the most common is osteoporosis. Also common is scoliosis, a side-to-side curve in the back or spine, often creating a pronounced "C" or "S" shape when viewed on an x-ray of the spine. This condition is most apparent during adolescence, and is most common with females.

Arthritis

Main article: Arthritis

Arthritis is a disorder of the joints. It involves inflammation of one or more joints. When affected by arthritis, the joint or joints affected may be painful to move, may move in unusual directions or may be immobile completely. The symptoms of arthritis will vary differently between types of arthritis. The most common form of arthritis: Osteoarthritis can affect both the larger and smaller joints of the human skeleton. The cartilage in the affected joints will degrade, soften and wear away. This decreases the mobility of the joints and decreases the space between bones where cartilage should be.

Osteoporosis

Main article: Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease of bone where there is reduced bone mineral density, increasing the likelihood of fractures.[7] Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization in women as a bone mineral density 2.5 standard deviations below peak bone mass, relative to the age and sex-matched average, as measured by Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, with the term "established osteoporosis" including the presence of a fragility fracture.[8] Osteoporosis is most common in women after menopause, when it is called "postmenopausal osteoporosis", but may develop in men and premenopausal women in the presence of particular hormonal disorders and other chronic diseases or as a result of smoking and medications, specifically glucocorticoids.[7] Osteoporosis usually has no symptoms until a fracture occurs.[7] For this reason, DEXA scans are often done in people with one or more risk factors, who have developed osteoporosis and be at risk of fracture.[7]

Osteoporosis treatment includes advice to stop smoking, decrease alcohol consumption, exercise regularly, and have a healthy diet. Calcium supplements may also be advised, as may Vitamin D. When medication is used, it may include bisphosphonates, Strontium ranelate, and osteoporosis may be one factor considered when commencing Hormone replacement therapy.[7]

History

References

  1. ^ Mammal anatomy : an illustrated guide. New York: Marshall Cavendish. 2010. p. 129. ISBN 9780761478829. 
  2. ^ Patterns of Sexual Behavior Clellan S. Ford and Frank A. Beach, published by Harper & Row, New York in 1951. ISBN 0-313-22355-6
  3. ^ Fernández, KS; de Alarcón, PA (Dec 2013). "Development of the hematopoietic system and disorders of hematopoiesis that present during infancy and early childhood.". Pediatric clinics of North America 60 (6): 1273–89. doi:10.1016/j.pcl.2013.08.002. PMID 24237971. 
  4. ^ Lee, Na Kyung; Sowa, Hideaki; Hinoi, Eiichi; Ferron, Mathieu; Ahn, Jong Deok; Confavreux, Cyrille; Dacquin, Romain; Mee, Patrick J.; McKee, Marc D.; Jung, Dae Young; Zhang, Zhiyou; Kim, Jason K.; Mauvais-Jarvis, Franck; Ducy, Patricia; Karsenty, Gerard (2007). "Endocrine Regulation of Energy Metabolism by the Skeleton". Cell 130 (3): 456–69. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.05.047. PMC 2013746. PMID 17693256. 
  5. ^ Buikstra, J.E.; D.H. Ubelaker (1994). Standards for data collection from human skeletal remains. Arkansas Archaeological Survey. p. 208. 
  6. ^ Phenice, T. W. (1969). "A newly developed visual method of sexing the os pubis". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 30 (2): 297–301. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330300214. PMID 5772048. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Britton, the editors Nicki R. Colledge, Brian R. Walker, Stuart H. Ralston ; illustated by Robert (2010). Davidson's principles and practice of medicine. (21st ed. ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. pp. 1116–1121. ISBN 978-0-7020-3085-7. 
  8. ^ WHO (1994). "Assessment of fracture risk and its application to screening for postmenopausal osteoporosis. Report of a WHO Study Group". World Health Organization technical report series 843: 1–129. PMID 7941614.