Facts & Functions
The adult human skeletal system consists of 206 bones, connected by a network of tendons, ligaments and cartilage. The skeletal system performs vital functions for our survival — support, movement, protection, blood cell production, calcium storage and endocrine regulation.
Babies are born with about 270 bones, some of which fuse together as the body develops. By the time we reach adulthood, we have 206 bones. Adult male and female skeletons vary primarily to accommodate childbirth. The female pelvis is flatter, more rounded and proportionally larger.
Bones are fed by a network of blood vessels from the circulatory system and nerves from the nerve system.
Bone typically has a tough, dense outer layer, followed by a layer of lighter spongy bone. Some bones contain a jelly-like bone marrow at the centre where new cells are constantly being produced.
The spine, rib cage and skull transmit the weight from the head, trunk and upper limbs down to the lower limbs at the hip joints, to maintain an upright posture.
The bones of the pectoral and pelvic girdles, upper limbs and lower limbs make walking, running and other movements possible. They also protect the organs responsible for digestion, excretion and reproduction.