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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Human Body The Human Body Arrow to Skeleton Skeleton

Human skeleton diagram

Names of major bones that
make up the human skeleton.


Human Skeleton Interactive GameFeeling lucky? Try your hand
at The Human Skeleton Game


We usually think of them as the frame that muscles are built around, but in actual fact bones are one of the primary organs of the body, and have many different functions and purposes.

The rib cage, for instance, protects all the sensitive internal organs that it envelops, like the heart and lungs.

The skull, aside from giving structure to the head and face, also protects our most sensitive organ of all, the brain.

Bones have several other important functions. The marrow they contain helps produce blood cells, and they are essential to many different kinds of mineral storage, including calcium.

Because of their structure, the bones of the ear - the smallest in the human body - are also essential to our hearing.

Bones, of course, are also beautifully engineered. They are strong, hard, and yet relatively light. One of the primary reasons for this is that bones are actually full of holes on the inside, like a sponge or honeycomb structure.

And bones are also somewhat elastic, owing to the support they get from softer parts of the skeletal system such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

Keeping bones healthy

Made up of more than 200 different bones, the skeleton may be the most under-appreciated parts of the human anatomy, and keeping it healthy should be at the top of everyone's priorities.

A great deal of what we can do to keep bones strong comes down to not significantly abusing them. Putting on a helmet while biking or motorcycling, or wearing other protective gear while engaged in sports, are important considerations to keep bones from serious injury.

On the other hand, a little light abuse, while weight training for example, will actually keep bones strong in much the same that running keeps the cardio system in top condition.

A proper diet is also essential to keeping bones healthy. Weak bones are more susceptible to injury, and so a diet rich in calcium will do bones a world of good.

Calcium supplements can also be taken with vitamin D, a nutrient which research has shown to be absolutely essential to bone health, especially later in life, to help ward off such age-related conditions as osteoporosis.

More about bones and the human skeleton around the Web:

Your Bones - Kid-friendly learning resources including interactive exercises teaching the names of major bones.

Human Anatomy Online - Skeletal System - Comprehensive learning resource with interactive clickable skeleton to learn more about bones, their names and functions including information on common fractures, and human bone fun facts.

Human skeleton - Wikipedia - Complete overview including a discussion on skeletal development, detailed information on the skull, rib cage, spine and other bones, differences between the male and female skeleton, related bone disorders, including labeled diagrams and illustrations.

BBC Science and Nature - skeletal anatomy - Virtual tour of the human skeleton teaching the names of bones and their functions with illustrations, diagrams, and interactive learning games.


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