Skeletal System

The skeletal system provides definite shape and mechanical support to the body, and it also helps in movement and locomotion. Ask questions about the skeletal system and bones here.

35,630 Questions
Skeletal System

How many bones are in the adult human body?

The adult human body has 206 bones. An infant may have from 300-350 bones at birth. Many of these fuse together as the infant grows. When some bones fuse and become one bone (most obvious examples are in the skull, sacrum and hip bones) the number of overall bones drops to the 206 bones that most adults have.

Of the 206 bones in the adult human body, more than half (106) are in the hands and feet. The adult skeleton consists of the following bones:

  • 28 skull bones (8 cranial, 14 facial, and 6 ear bones)
  • The horseshoe-shaped hyoid bone of the neck which is the only bone that does not articulate (connect via a joint) to another bone
  • 26 vertebrae (7 cervical or neck; 12 thoracic; 5 lumbar or loins; the sacrum, which is five fused vertebrae; and the coccyx, which is four fused vertebrae)
  • 24 ribs plus the sternum or breastbone; the shoulder girdle (2 clavicles, the most frequently fractured bones in the body, and 2 scapulae)
  • the pelvic bones (3 fused bones called the coxal bone, or Os Coxae)
  • 30 bones in each of the arms and legs (a total of 120)
  • a few partial bones, ranging from 8-18 in number, which are related to joints

There are individual variations: for example, some people are born with an extra rib or lumbar vertebra and not everyone has Inca (sutural) bones.

Growth Rates
Human Anatomy and Physiology
Skeletal System

Why do babies have more bones than adults?

Over the course of childhood and adolescence, many bones in the skull and pelvis fuse together. These are the largest and widest parts of a baby's body, having them composed of several loosely connected bones permits them to flex more during birth, making the process easier on both mother and baby. In adults it is more important for these same bones to be hard and strong, so by then they are mostly fused into a small number of larger bones.
It depends on how you define "bone". In absolute terms, we are born with the same number of articulated skeletal members as we have throughout our lives; however, at birth some of these "bones" have only begun to ossify, such that they wouldn't show up on an X-ray. To ossify is to "turn to bone." Anatomically, this refers to depositing calcium in the cartilage to make it harder. Since X- rays show only calcified bone, uncalcified cartilage won't show up, even though that part of the skeleton is there and fully functional. So, if you restrict "bone" to mean "only those calcified bits of the skeleton that show up on X- rays," then newborns have fewer bones. If, on the other hand, you refer to a each skeletal member as a "bone," then newborns and adults have the same numbers.
Because as you grow older some of your bones grow together to form single ones.
Infants have three separate bones in their skull when they are born. The areas between these bones remain soft prior to birth, allowing the skull to remain malleable so it may pass through the birth canal more easily. These bones naturally fuse as the baby grows, becoming a single bone by adulthood.

Skeletal System

What is the name for the place where two bones meet?

It is called a joint which is surronded by cartilage and ligaments.

Skeletal System

What are examples of hinge joints?

The most typical hinge joints is the elbow, which attaches the Humerus to the Radius and Ulna.

Some say the interphalangeal joints between the bones in your fingers are hinge joints; others call them condyloid joints

Hinge joints that are a bit atypical, as they allow some limited rotation include the:

  • knee, or tibiofemoral joint. This is the largest hinge joint. The patellofemoral joint, between the kneecap and thighbone, is not a hinge joint.. The knee is sometimes considered a modified hinge joint or a pivotal hinge joint.

  • The Ankle is not a good example, its a saddle joint.

The jaw (the temperomandibular joint) is sometimes called a hinge joint, but it has a gliding component as well and has more motion than a typical hinge joint.

Hinge joints are synovial joints that only move on one plane (ex you can bring your arm up at your elbow but you can bend it sideways without rotating your shoulder.

Generally, a hinge joint is found between two bones that move in two opposite directions (flexion and extension), as opposed to in many directions. For comparison, the hip joint and shoulder are not hinge joints, since they move the adjoining limb in several directions.

Skeletal System

What joints are used when an acrobat bend his body backward?

1) Inter-Vertebral joints. Mainly Lumber, Cervical, partially Thoracic.
2) Cranio-cervical or Atlanto-occipital joint.
3) Lumbo-sacral joint.
4) Hip joint.
5) Knee joint.
6) Ankle joint.ALL of them extended.

Skeletal System

Explain the difference why there are more bones among children than men?

There are 206 bones in the body.When a baby is born the bones in his head are not yet fused together. This is so that the baby's head may mold to fit through the vaginal canal at birth and also to allow for brain growth that occurs rapidly over the next several months. Since they have yet to fuse (seal together) to make one bone (the skull), many people count them as individual bones.

Skeletal System

What does ribs mean?

Ribs contain and support the thoracic cavity, which includes the heart/lungs/liver.

The liver is localized in the abdominal cavity, under the diaphragm .

If the liver is in the thoraxic cavity thats abnormal.

Skeletal System

Does rheumatoid arthritis cause cracking bones not literally like breaking but cracking noises?

This noise, unless, painful, is due to air in the joint.

See link below about joint popping.

Skeletal System

What are the functions of the skeletal system?

The skeletal system in the body provides the shape, supports and protects organs and the soft areas of the body. Its others functions are bodily movement, producing blood for the body, and storing minerals that the physical structure needs.

Shape and Support

The skeleton is made up of various bones and provides the framework for the body. Thus, the skeleton provides the basic shape and structure for the body. The bones are like the structural members of a building, and all of the organs, muscles and skin are incorporated with the bones, just like the furnishings, rooms, walls, and finishing of a building.


The skeleton protects organs in the body. Bones can cover and protect many of the major organs.

Cranium: protects the brain

Ribs/sternum: protects the lungs, heart and digestive organs

Pelvis: protects and supports the digestive and reproductive organs

Spinal column: protects the major nervous system branching into the entire system, and holds up your body like the trunk on a tree.

Skull: mandible, maxilla and teeth protect the tongue and buccal cavity.

Blood Cell Production

Inside of the long bones there is a cavity that is filled with a substance called Bone Marrow that produces blood cells and repairs damaged blood cells.


The bones of the skeleton are the levers that help the body move in different directions and in different ways. Bones anchor muscle to provide movement. The bones by themselves can't move without the muscles that are connected to them.

Mineral Storage

Mineral is a substance that the body needs to carry out all of the bodily functions like thinking, breathing and moving around. One of the minerals that the body needs is calcium. Calcium is a major part of bone, and this is where the body stores its calcium. The less calcium the bone has, the weaker it will become. In case the body does not get enough calcium from the daily intake of food, it will take the calcium it needs from the bones.

Skeletal System

How many chromosomes are found in a bone cell?

It depends on the organism.

Skeletal System

Do human bone sizes vary?


Skeletal System

What is the rounded knob on the humerus that articulates with the radius?

The capitulum on the humeral condyle articulates with the head of the radius to form a pivot joint.

Back Neck and Spine
Skeletal System

Is cracking your back unhealthy?

"Cracking" your back is not so bad at all if you are a young and healthy individual. The concern tends to be that there are some risks associated, such as fracture, sprain, strain, etc. These risks are very low when an adjustment ("cracking") is performed by a skilled professional (eg: doctor of chiropractic), but when performed by yourself, or by another unskilled person, the risks increase. Even when performed by the unskilled, the risks tend to be relatively non-severe for young and healthy individuals.

It should be noted that recent research has suggested that the "cracking" sound that comes from an adjustment of a joint has no therpeutic benefit in itself. It seems that it is rather the high velocity and low amplitude stretch of proprioceptive muculature that surrounds the joint that induced the therapeutic effect. Thus, simply "cracking" your own back by twisting yourself, etc. will not result in the same benefits of a proper adjustment by a skilled professional.

If you "crack" your back too much, then YES it is. Do not attempt to crack your back by yourself, have your doctor, or a trained professional do it. If you crack your back too much, it can lead to other health problems such has "hypermobility", which is the most common back problem associated with cracking your back. When you think of hypermobility, the easiest way to understand exactly what it is, is too think of a rubber band. When the rubber band is stretched over and over again, it loses it's "elasticity" to bounce back to it's normal shape. Which is exactly what happens with your spine when you over do it on the "Cracking" technique. Think of your back as a rubber band. It has elasticity in it to go back to it's normal shape. But the more and more you crack your back, it stretches the vertebrae, and the spine gradually loses it's elasticity to "bounce back" to it's normal form, just like a rubber band that is over stretched. This health problem is known as "HYPERMOBILITY". The younger the age you are that you start to crack your back, the more at risk you are to get back pains at an earlier age then normal, such as instead of getting back pains when your let's say, 55 years old, you'll start to get them at age 45 instead, because of the hypermobility you basically brought upon yourself by starting to crack your back at such a young age.

The above answer is interesting, but unfortunately is a common and incorrect interpretation of "back cracking". When a professional (eg: doctor of chiropractic) adjusts (cracks) your back, he/she does not stretch your ligaments more than you would during a normal day with normal activities (by turning to look over your shoulder, exercising, etc.). In fact, most of the stretch occurs on active structures like muscles that cross the joints, and this is what causes part of the therapeutic effect. If you "crack" your own back you may be stretching the ligaments a bit further, as you dont know the limits of your ligaments, but this will not cause them to become "loose" unless you hold that stretch for a very prolonged period. Further, the younger you are, the easier it is for those ligaments to become "tight" again if you do stretch them too far for too long (eg: When you sit with a poor posture you force your muscles in your back to support you. When your muscles tire out your ligaments must take over the job of supporting you, they slowly stretch and become damaged, but they will heal, especially if you are young).

Skeletal System

Can you get rib cancer?

In a way, yes, you can indeed get rib cancer. There is a cancer called bone cancer and a rib is a bone, so, if you have bone cancer in your ribs, then you have rib cancer.

Skeletal System

What is a weird named bone in your body?

How about the "stirrup"? It is a tiny bone in your inner ear.

Skeletal System

What is the five major bones in your body?

  1. The Skull
  2. The Ribs
  3. The Spine (Backbone)
  4. The Pelvis
  5. The Femur (Thigh bone)
Skeletal System

What is the most useless bone in the human body?

sutural bones

Skeletal System

Can cracked ribs cause a lung infection?

Yes it can. Due to the pain of the 'cracked' (broken or contused) ribs, one tends to breath more shallowly and take less deep breaths. Normally deep breaths help to move the mucus that is formed in the airway up into the throat, where it is swallowed unnoticed.

If the formed mucus is not cleared properly it will accumulate in the lungs (due to gravity mostly in the lower lobes). This mucus is ideal for bacteria to grow in (warm and humid) and this may lead to a pneumonia

Skeletal System

Where is red bone marrow found in adult skeleton?

It lies entirely within the spaces of bone: medullary cavity of young long bones, or spaces of spongy bone

Skeletal System

Lateral bone in forearm in anatomical position?

The radius.

Skeletal System

What is the tool used to measure a skull called?

A caliper, I think.

Skeletal System

Can you show me a femur diagram?

go to link

Skeletal System

How many collarbones in human body?


Skeletal System

What is the protective layer that covers bones?

The periosteum is the protective layer that covers bones.

Skeletal System

Find the circumference of a circle whose radius is 4 feet?

The correct answer is 25.13 feet, not the figure given below - which is twice as large.


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