Your Skeleton, think. Without it, no support for your body, no upright position, no movement of hands or feet, no protection for your organs, no support for your nerves or skin. Yet, it is perfectly suited for our activities and well-being … hmmm.
We see an x-ray projection of an entire skeleton. A caption on the x-ray tells us that an adult’s body has 206 bones, while an infant’s has 300 to 350. We ponder why a baby would require more bones than an adult, and we wonder about our bones in general.
The skeleton is a symbol of Halloween, and is often menacing. There is nothing sinister about our bones, however.
Quite the opposite! Let’s examine a life-size skeleton replica, the sort you’d see in doctors’ offices.
As we wiggle the skull and tickle the ribcage, we notice the strength and hardness of the bone tissue. Bones protect our organs—the ribcage guards our heart and lungs, for example, while the skull provides a “strongbox” for our brain, protecting against bruises. The skull is so tough and hard that it can withstand pressure that would crack your average coconut.The skull is so tough and hard that it can withstand pressure that would crack your average coconut. Click To Tweet
The sinus cavities in the skull (which are always open to the world) and the movable jaw (or mandible) function so simply: the sinuses provide support for skin and nose cartilage and the mandible allows opening and closing of the mouth. Such basic functions help everything from smelling to breathing to talking to eating to kissing to yawning.
When a child is in the womb, those 300 to 350 bones begin to form and the cartilage hardens into a complete miniature version of an adult skeleton. After birth, as an infant develops into a child and eventually an adult, the infant’s bones—which are soft and flexible as the child is learning to crawl, walk, and run—fuse into the 206 adult bones.
The infant’s skull alone has five separate pieces, with two soft “gaps” called fontanelles. Between the ages of six and eighteen months, the fontanelles disappear as the skull bones fuse together. While talking to the patients, one of the doctors mentions that a child’s bones need strengthening.
Running, jumping, and playing sports stimulate the growth of dense bones in children in many ways, such as by increasing calcium deposits in the bones. We ponder that children are naturally physically active, which helps their bones become stronger while they consolidate.
Since we are dealing with an adult skeleton model, we examine the bones carefully. Galacti highlights them, showing how they all fit together in an orderly fashion from the temporal mandibular joint that moves the jawbone to the spinal cord that connects to the skull at the top of the body, as well as the ribcage in the middle and the pelvic girdle at the hips. In turn, the pelvic girdle connects with the long, hollow, strong thigh bones called the femurs.
They withstand our weight and the pressure we put on the bone when walking or running. The femur connects to the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones), which end at the feet. We forgot to mention the pectoral girdle in the shoulder area, which connects to the bones and the arm, which end at the eight wristbones.
Each bone is shaped to fit together and support each other, especially the “antigravity” bones such as the spine, pelvic girdle, tibia, and the multiple bones of the foot. These do the work of resisting gravity as we stand or walk.
We feel the bones of the spine, which is especially vital in supporting our body weight and helps protect the spinal nerve cord. The vertebrae, which form a long, elegant column, are composed of alternating cartilage made up of calcium carbonate and bone layers.
We think back to calcium, the fifth most abundant element in the body. It is so vital in bone composition and health. Magnesium is also important in bone function, as well as the carbon in calcium carbonate. How is it that the body contains the right amount of these minerals to make the spine and other bones strong?How is it that the body contains the right amount of these calcium, magnesium and carbon to make the spine and other bones strong? Click To Tweet
How is it that the lower bones are strong enough to keep us upright while the other bones, such as the pectoral girdle and the bones in the arms and hand, work together to do the daily tasks of living?
When we watch our group moving their arms and legs, we realize that the majority of the bones in our limbs assist us in walking while carrying a tray with our hands, for example, while the spine holds us upright.
As for the skull, we watch our mouths move and ponder once again that the only bone that can open and close or move is the jaw, which enables talking and eating.
However, other than the vital human organs, something is missing from our artistically rendered skeleton. Galacti adds most of the organs such as the eyes, nose, ears, tongue, heart,
lungs, pancreas, liver, pituitary gland, spleen, kidneys, stomach, upper and lower intestines, and gallbladder.
However, the skin, the largest organ in the body, is missing—as is another vital human “ingredient.”
This post is an excerpt from chapter 8.4 of Inventory of the Universe.
The Explanation Blog Bonus:
Here are a couple of videos. This first one is a quick tutorial. Did you know that the skeleton produces the red blood cells on which life depends? The skeleton has many other important, lesser-known roles, take a look:
This is a contortionist, Sophie Dossi, on America’s Got Talent. Amazing what she can do with her skeleton. Enjoy.
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