The skeletal system is made up 206 bones, which are helped by cartilages, tendons and ligaments. The system helps to protect the vital organs in the body and help to maintain the shape of the body. In addition, the system provides a supporting structure for the muscles to attach themselves. The skeletal system also aids in the production of blood cells and is a storehouse for minerals.
The skeletal system is divided into two parts, namely the axial skeleton, and the appendicular skeleton. The important components of the axial skeletal system are the skull, hyoid bone, spine, sacrum, coccyx, sternum and the rib cage. These bones are aligned along the long axis of the body.
The appendicular skeletal system is made up of the bones of the forearms, hands, arms, the shoulders, pelvis, thigh, knee, legs, and foot.
Each compound bone is further made up of smaller bones. For instance, the skull is made up of eight bones, namely one front bone, two parietal bones, two temporal bones, one occipital bone, one sphenoid bone and one ethmoid. These bones encase and protect the brain. Similarly, the facial bones are made up of 14 bones, while the vertebral column is made up of three groups of vertebrae and two sets of bones that are fused. The vertebral column is made up of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, 5 lumbar vertebrae, 5 fused vertebrae form the sacrum and 3 -5 fused small vertebrae form the coccyx, or the tail bone.
There are 12 pairs of ribs, where the first 7 are considered true ribs since they are directly attached to the sternum. Ribs 8 to 12 are considered false ribs since they are not directly attached to the sternum. Ribs 11 and 12 are called floating ribs since they are not attached to the sternum and this allows the ribs to move sideways, and they also protect the kidneys.
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