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Human Skeletal System

The human skeleton contains approximately 206 bones that make up the axial and appendicular skeletons.

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Skeletal Mishaps
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Skeletal Mishaps

Don't Move Too Quick

Our skeleton is the scaffold around which our body is based. It supports us, protects some of our internal organs and allows us to move efficiently. Imagine for a second what a different organism Homo sapiens would be if we had no skeleton. Imagine trying to run or even walk if we had no skeleton. Imagine trying to breath if we didn't have a rib cage to take the weight off our lungs. Imagine walking around with a big brain and no skull. No, without our skeletons we simply wouldn't be the same. We wouldn't look the same or be able to live the kinds of lives we do. By now, you may have developed a strong sense that for all the beauty and intricacies of organisms, things can always go wrong, and when it comes to our skeletons, something going wrong can be devastating...or not. First, take a look at the human skeleton, as you watch this think about how our muscles interact with our skeleton to create movement.


Now that you have a firm image of your skeleton in your mind, find out what can happen if all the components that make up your bones aren't in top shape.


Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the cause of brittle bone disease? Why are the bones "brittle"?
  2. At what age can brittle bone disease manifest? Does this happen with all sufferers?
  3. What are some of the symptoms of brittle bone disease?
  4. How does someone catch brittle bone disease? Explain specifically how this works.
  5. Where in the body is collagen found? What characteristics does this protein have? What is the structure of this protein?
  6. Why do you think brittle bone disease can cause discoloration in the eyes? What does this say about the overall connectivity of systems in the body? Don't think in terms of what the systems do as much as what they are made of. Why is this relationship beneficial from the viewpoint of energetics?

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