300/206 Bones of the Body Skeleton, Diagram, & Functions

What is Human Skeleton?

A newborn has 270-300 bones that fuse to form 206 bones of the body. The human skeleton is 15% of your bodyweight and 5-times lighter than a steel framework built to perform the same functions.

Consisting of three subdivisions – the axial, appendicular, and visceral – the human skeleton is a framework of bones interconnected with one another to perform a variety of tasks.

The skeletal system of humans is a type of endoskeleton as all its elements (bones and cartilages) are located internally, and they are not exposed or naked.

The “Human Bone Manual” authored by Pieter A. Folkens (2005) puts the bodyweight contributed by the bones at about 20%.

According to Mell Robin, the bones make up merely 15% of your body’s entire weight.

Did you know?

Formed of protein (collagen) and mineral (hydroxyapatite), your bone is the strongest biological material on earth, especially in terms of bearing weight.

Is Bone a Tissue or an Organ?

While there is no standard or universally agreed-upon definition of an organ, the designation of a bone as an organ might be questionable.

It basically is a tissue that performs the function of an organ in the body. And when you take all the bones collectively, they form a bone organ system.

300 or 206 Bones of the Body?

Where are 64 to 94 bones lost as you grow to reach majority?

The total number of bones in the skeletal system of an adult human is 206. On the other hand, an infantile skeletal system may consist of as many as 300 bones!

With time, the bones in a child fuse with each other, thus the number of total bones in the human body goes on decreasing.

Did you know?

The decrease in the number of bones – resulting from their fusion – causes an increase in the number of joints as you grow up. This, in turn, adds to the flexibility of your body.

Three Subdivisions:

Mell Robin (2009) in the book “A Handbook for Yogasana Teachers: The Incorporation of Neuroscience, Physiology, and Anatomy into the Practice” distinguishes between two subdivisions of your skeleton, i.e., the axial and the perpendicular.

According to Robin, the axial skeleton has 80 bones that form the skull, the spine, the pelvis, and the rib cage.

The remaining 126 (out of the 206) bones make up the upper and lower limbs, which constitute the appendicular skeleton.

A Britannica (Encyclopedia) article, on the other hand, makes a distinction between 3 subdivisions of the skeletal system, that is:

  • The Axial Framework – the skull and the spine (backbone)
  • The Appendicula Division – the hip and shoulder girdles and bones (and cartilages) of the limbs.
  • The Visceral Skeleton – The upper (some elements) and lower jaws and the branchial arches.

What Does the Skeleton Do?

The skeletal system performs a variety of tasks in your body. Its major jobs include:

  • Mobility: One of the primary jobs of your skeletal system is to provide mobility.
  • Flexibility: Your body owes flexibility to the presence of joins. You can bend your body parts along multiple directions.As the number of bones decreases through fusion with time, your body gets even better flexibility.
  • Support: The 206 bones of the body provide support to various organs and organ systems of the body.
  • Erect Posture: When compared with the endoskeletons of other animals, the human skeleton emerges to be the most advanced one – it provides you an erect posture. So, your body seems to be a walking tower, moving on two pillars, called the legs.
  • Protection: Different subdivisions provide support to different organs. For example, your central nervous system is protected by the axial component of the human skeleton.
  • Storage of Substances: The bones of the body skeletal system also store minerals and lipids.
  • Blood Cells Synthesis: The bone marrow synthesizes WBCs (white blood cells), RBCs (red blood cells), and platelets.

About the Author

Posted by: M. Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar (NCBA&E University, Lahore), M. Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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