The human skeleton is crucial for us to live. It keeps our shape and muscle attached to the skeleton allows us the ability to move around, while also protecting crucial organs that we need to survive. Bones also produce blood cells within bone marrow and store minerals we need released on a daily basis.
As a fully grown adult you will have around 206 bones, but you are born with over 270, which continue to grow,
strengthen and fuse after birth until around 18 in females and 20 in males. Human skeletons actually do vary between sexes in structure also. One of the most obvious areas is the pelvis as a female must be able to give birth, and therefore hips are comparatively shallower and wider.
The cranium also becomes more robust in males due to heavy muscle attachment and a male’s chin is often more prominent. Female skeletons are generally more delicate overall. However, although there are several methods, sexing can be difficult because of the level of variation we see
within the species.
Bones are made up of various different elements. In utero, the skeleton takes shape as cartilage, which then starts to
calcify and develop during gestation and following birth. The primary element that makes up bone, osseous tissue, is
actually mineralised calcium phosphate, but other forms of tissue such as marrow, cartilage and blood vessels are
also contained in the overall structure. Many individuals think that bones are solid, but actually inner bone is porous and full of little holes.
As we age, so do our bones. Even though cells are constantly being replaced, and therefore no cell in our body is more than 20 years old, they are not replaced with perfect, brand-new cells. The cells contain errors in their DNA and ultimately our bones therefore weaken as we age.
Conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis can often be caused by ageing and cause issues with weakening of bones
and reduced movement ability.