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The Axial Skeleton

The Human Skeleton can be divided up into to two parts, the Axial Skeleton and the Appendicular skeleton.

Bones of the Axial Skeleton

The Axial Skeleton is the central core of the human body housing and protecting it’s vital organs. The axial skeleton consists of 80 bones:

  • 29 bones in the head - (8 cranial and 14 facial bones) and then also 7 accociated bones (6 auditory ossicles and the Hyoid Bone)
  • 25 bones of the thorax - (the sternum and 24 ribs)  
  • 26 bones in the vertebral column (24 vertebrae, the sacrum and the coccyx)

The function of the Axial skeleton

The Axial Skeleton has 2 functions. The first it to support and protect the organs in the dorsal and ventral cavities. The second being that it creates a surface for the attachment of muscles.

The intervertebral disc(which lies between the adjacent vertebae in the spine) is a classic example of a joint within the Axial skeleton in that it is very strong and will only permit limited movement.

Next - The Appendicular skeleton >>

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