Skeletal Biology

Skeletal Biology:

Human skeletal biology emphasizes the dynamic nature and difficulty of the human skeleton. In human skeletal biology Research frequently targets on human remains recovered from archaeological contexts. Generally Topics of research associated to health, the relationships among ancestral populations as revealed in biological distance studies, and functional morphology through associated evaluations of behavior and utilization of the skeleton. Interpretations in the field identify the mechanisms of growth & development, bone remodeling, adult age modify, sexual dimorphism and population variation. More exclusively, research foci can include skeletal evidence for disease, chemical analyses associating to diet, the expansion and maintenance of bones & teeth, demographic reconstruction, cultural affects, biomechanical adaptation, trauma, and postmortem alterations.

Humans have been dealing along with injuries and disease from the beginning of time. Some significant milestones in the history of Archaeology of Skeletal biology include following:

A) Hippocrates, the ancient Greek father of medicine, produced splints for fractures of the tibia.

B) During the Roman era, Galen (129-199 BC) explained the skeletal system and the surrounding muscles. Medical experts of the time also produced the first artificial prostheses.

C) Ambroise Pare (1510-1590), the father of French surgery, produce techniques for and artificial and amputations limbs.

D) Antonius Mathysen (1805-1878), a Dutch military surgeon, in the year of 1851 invents the plaster of Paris (POP) bandage. A POP cast remains the prime method of fracture immobilization today.

E) In the year of 1895, Accidentally Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovers an image cast from his cathode ray generator, projected far beyond the probable range of the cathode rays. He wins the Nobel Prize for Physics in the year of 1901 for his innovation of x-rays.

F) Sir Reginald Watson-Jones (1902-1972) publishes “Fractures and Joint Injuries” in the year of 1940, which remains a standard reference for various decades.

G) In the year of 1949, H. Lowry Rush (1879-1965) employ stainless steel pins to treat long bone fractures.

Introduction to Human Skeletal System:

Skeletal system is the system of bones, related cartilages and joints of human body. Together these structures compose the human skeleton. Skeleton can be described as the hard framework of human body about which the whole body is built. Almost all of the hard parts of human body are components of human skeletal system. Joints are very significant since they make the tough & rigid skeleton let different types of movements at distinct locations.

Components of Human Skeleton:

Human skeleton is formed of three main components; cartilages, Bones and Joints.


It is a tough & rigid form of connective tissue. It is the weight bearing limb of human body and it is responsible for approximately all strength of human skeleton.


It is also a form of connective tissue however it is not as rigid and tough as bone. The major difference in the cartilage & bone is the mineralization factor. Bones are extremely mineralized with calcium salts whereas cartilages are not.


It is important components of human skeleton since they make the human skeleton mobile. A joint take places among “bone and cartilage” ,“two or more bones”, and “cartilage and cartilage”.

Divisions of Human Skeleton:

Human skeleton can be divided in two divisions.

Axial Skeleton:

This forms the axis of human body. It contains vertebral column, skull and thoracic cage.


This is that part of human skeleton that compose the bony framework of the head. It contains 22 distinct bones that are divided in two groups: bones of face and bones of cranium.

Vertebral Column:

Vertebral Column is a flexible column of vertebrae, relating to the trunk of human body to the skull & appendages. It is formed of 33 vertebrae that are divided to 5 regions: Thoracic, Cervical Sacral, Lumbar & Coccygeal.

Rib Cage:

Rib Cage is a bony cage enclosing vital human organs formed through the sternum and ribs. There are twelve pairs of ribs that are divided in three groups: True ribs, False ribs and Floating ribs.

Appendicular Skeleton:

Appendicular Skeleton is the skeleton of appendages of human body. It contains Shoulder girdle, Skeleton of upper limb, Pelvic girdle, & Skeleton of lower limb.

Shoulder Girdle:

Shoulder Girdle attaches the upper limb to body trunk and is composed by two bones: scapula and clavicle. Clavicle is a changed long bone and it is subcutaneous all through its position. It is also called as the beauty bone. It possesses three significant procedures: Acromion process, Spine of scapula, and Coracoid process.

Skeleton of Upper limb:

The skeleton of each upper limb contains 30 bones. These bones are: Ulna, Radius, Humerus,  Metacarpals, Carpals & Phalanges.

Pelvic Girdle:

There are two pelvic girdles (one for each lower limb) but not like the pectoral girdles, they are jointed along with each other at symphysis pubis. Each pelvic girdle is single bone in adults and is built up of three components: Ischium , Ileum & Pubis.

Skeleton of Lower limb:

The skeleton of each lower limb contains 30 bones. These bones are following ; Femur, Tibia, Patella, Metatarsals, Tarsals,  Phalanges.

Functions of human skeleton:

Human skeleton carry out some significant functions that are essential for survival of human beings.

  • STRENGTH, SUPPORT AND SHAPE: It provides support, strength and shape to the body. Without a tough and rigid skeletal system, human body can’t stand upright, & it will become just a bag of soft tissues with no any proper shape
  • PROTECTION OF DELICATE ORGANS: In areas such as the rib cage & skull, the skeleton protects inner soft however vital organs such as brain and heart from external shocks. Any damage to these organs can demonstrate fatal; thus protective function of skeleton is very significant
  • LEVERAGE FOR MOVEMENTS: In all parts of body Bones of the human, skeleton provide attachment to the muscles. These muscles give motor power for developing movements of body parts. In these actions the parts of skeleton behaves like levers of distinct types therefore generating movements according to the requirements of the human body.
  • PRODUCTION OF RED BLOOD CELLS: Bone such as the sternum, & heads of tibia have hemopoeitic activity (blood cells production). These are the sites of manufacture of new blood cells.

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