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Interesting and Surprising Facts About the Human Skeleton

Updated on December 14, 2016
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Linda Crampton is a teacher with a first class honors degree in biology. She writes about human biology and the scientific basis of disease.

The six types of bones classified by shape
The six types of bones classified by shape | Source

Our Impressive Skeleton

The human skeleton is an interesting and complex structure. It's not simply a scaffolding for our body or just a structure that enables us to move. The bones that make up the skeleton are made of living tissue that has vital functions.

In addition to supporting the body and allowing it to move, the skeleton protects organs, makes the blood cells and stores fat and minerals. Bones release minerals into the bloodstream and absorb them from the blood as needed. In addition, researchers are discovering that the skeleton makes chemicals that trigger effects not only in bones but also in other parts of the body.

There are two divisions of the skeleton—the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton is located in the midline of the body and is composed of the skull, the vertebral column or backbone, the sternum or breast bone and the ribs. It also includes smaller bones which aren't connected to the rest of the axial skeleton. These are the hyoid bone at the back of the throat and the ossicles in the middle ears.

The appendicular skeleton is made of the limbs and their associated bones. It includes the bones of the hands, arms, feet and legs as well as the pelvic bones, the scapula or shoulder blade and the clavicle or collar bone.

Bones in the human skeleton
Bones in the human skeleton | Source

The Skull

  • The skull is made of the cranium and the facial bones.
  • The cranium is made of eight bones that fit tightly together.
  • There are fourteen facial bones.
  • Some of the facial bones contain a space called a sinus which is filled with air and has a lining that produces mucus.
  • Sinuses are connected to the nose via tubes called ducts.
  • When skulls of people who died a long time ago are discovered, only the bridge of the nose remains. Like the ear lobes, the rest of the nose is made of cartilage, not bone. Cartilage decays faster than bone after death.

A suture is a fibrous joint that occurs between the bones of the cranium. Sutural bones are extra bones that develop within a suture. They are usually small and aren't present in everybody.

Bones of the skull
Bones of the skull | Source

The Vertebral Column, Spine or Backbone

  • The vertebral column is made of seven cervical vertebrae in the neck, twelve thoracic vertebrae in the upper back, five lumbar vertebrae in the lower back, five fused vertebrae in the sacrum at the back of the pelvis, and three to five fused vertebrae in the coccyx or tail bone.
  • The first vertebra in the neck is called the atlas because it holds the head up. It's named after Atlas, an Ancient Greek deity who supported the world on his shoulders.
  • The second vertebra in the neck is called the axis. It acts as a pivot that allows the atlas to rotate.

A side view of the vertebral column
A side view of the vertebral column | Source

The Sternum and Ribs

  • Most people have twelve pairs of ribs.
  • The first seven pairs of ribs are known as true ribs. They're connected to the vertebrae at the back and are joined via a strip of cartilage to the sternum or breast bone at the front.
  • The next three pairs of ribs are known as false ribs because they are connected to another rib at the front of the rib cage instead of directly to the sternum.
  • The last two pairs of ribs are known as floating ribs because they aren't attached to any other bone at the front of the rib cage.
  • Some people have an extra rib known as a cervical rib. This arises from the last cervical vertebra and can be present on either side of the body or on both sides. The rib may be only partially developed.
  • Most cervical ribs cause no problems. Occasionally they may press on nerves or blood vessels and contribute to a condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome.

Although bones are often said to be connected to other bones, the bones are not connected directly. They are linked via a structure called a joint. Joints are movable, slightly movable or immovable.

A 3D illustration of two cervical ribs above the normal ribs. One of the cervical ribs is more developed than the other,
A 3D illustration of two cervical ribs above the normal ribs. One of the cervical ribs is more developed than the other, | Source
Location and shape of the hyoid bone
Location and shape of the hyoid bone | Source

The Hyoid Bone

  • The hyoid bone has a horseshoe shape. It's located in the front of the neck between the lower jaw and the larynx.
  • Unlike nearly all other bones, the hyoid bone isn't connected to another bone. It's held in place by muscles.
  • The larynx, or voice box, houses the vocal cords that produce sound. The tongue and the hyoid bone allow a wider variety of vocalizations to be produced than the vocal cords on their own.

The malleus (hammer), incus (anvil) and stapes (stirrup) in the middle ear are collectively known as ossicles.
The malleus (hammer), incus (anvil) and stapes (stirrup) in the middle ear are collectively known as ossicles. | Source

The outer ear consists of the pinna or auricle, the ear canal and the outer part of the eardrum or tympanic membrane. Only the pinna is visible from the outside of the body. The rest of the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear are located inside bones of the skull.

The Ossicles

  • The three tiny bones in the middle ear are called ossicles.
  • The first ossicle is called the malleus or hammer. It transmits vibrations from the eardrum.
  • The vibrations from the malleus are sent to the second ossicle, which is called the incus or anvil.
  • The incus sends vibrations to the third ossicle, or stapes. The stapes transmits the vibrations to the round window of the inner ear.
  • The stapes is also known as the stirrup because it looks like the stirrup used by horse riders. It's the smallest bone in the body and is only around 2.8 mm in length.
  • The ossicles vibrate as sound waves reach them from the outer ear. They transmit the vibrations to the fluid in the inner ear, which in turn stimulates hair cells. The hair cells then stimulate the auditory nerve, which sends nerve impulses to the brain. The brain creates the sensation of sound.

The Skeletal System: Crash Course Biology

The outer part of the clavicle is joined to the acromium, an extension of the scapula. The inner part is connected to the sternum.
The outer part of the clavicle is joined to the acromium, an extension of the scapula. The inner part is connected to the sternum. | Source

Facts About the Appendicular Skeleton

  • The part of the body with the most bones is the hand. Each hand contains 27 bones. There are eight carpal or wrist bones, five metacarpal bones in the palm and fourteen phalanges in the digits (three in each finger and two in the thumb).
  • The long bone in the upper leg is the femur. The femur is the biggest bone in the body and is also the strongest.
  • The clavicle or collar bone is the only long bone in the body that normally lies in a horizontal position. It connects the sternum to the shoulder blade, or scapula.
  • Each hip bone is composed of three fused bones—the ilium, the ischium and the pubis.
  • The two hip bones are joined to the sacrum at the back of the body and the pubic symphysis at the front. The resulting ring-like structure is called the pelvis.
  • The space inside the ring is significantly larger in females than in males in order to accommodate childbirth.
  • The pubic symphysis is a cartilaginous joint, not a bone.

Bones of the pelvis
Bones of the pelvis | Source

Sesamoid Bones

Sesamoid bones are located in tendons, which are the fibrous structures that connect muscles to bones. At least one sesamoid bone is present in everyone's body. This bone is the patella or kneecap, which is located in the front of the knee. Other sesamoid bones vary in number and position and may not be present in all people.

Some common sites for the location of sesamoid bones in addition to the knee are the wrist, the hands and the feet. With the exception of the patella, sesamoid bones are small in size. Despite this fact, the bones can break and may become inflamed, causing pain.

There are various theories for the function of sesamoid bones. One is that they improve the action of a tendon, acting as a fulcrum. Another is that they reduce friction in an area. Sesamoid bones on the bottom of the foot may assist with weight bearing.

Three small sesamoid bones on a metatarsal bone in the foot
Three small sesamoid bones on a metatarsal bone in the foot | Source

The Funny Bone or Ulnar Nerve

The funny bone is actually the ulnar nerve. This is a very long nerve that travels from the neck down the arm to the hand. It's well protected over most of its route but is less protected at the elbow. If we hit our elbow in a certain place we may push the ulnar nerve against bone. This produces a strange sensation of numbness, tingling and pain that travels down the forearm. People often say that they have hit their funny bone when they experience this event.

The term "funny bone" may have arisen due to the funny or strange sensation that is produced. Another possibility is that the term developed because the sensation happens at the bottom of the upper arm bone, whose technical name is the humerus. This name makes some people think of the word "humorous".

The osteon is the building block of compact bone.
The osteon is the building block of compact bone. | Source

Structure of Bone

There are two types of bone tissue—compact bone and spongy bone. Spongy bone is also known as cancellous or trabecular bone. Compact bone is found in the outer part of bones and spongy bone is located in the inner part.

Compact bone is made of "building blocks" called osteons. Osteons are made of calcium, phosphate and protein, a mixture that is known as bone matrix. Each osteon has a central canal, also called the Haversian canal, which contains blood vessels, a lymphatic vessel and a nerve. The bone cells are located in small spaces in the osteon known as lacunae. The lacunae are arranged in concentric circles around the central canal. Tiny passageways called canaliculi connect the lacunae to each other.

Spongy bone consists of a mesh-like structure with spaces in between the bars and plates of the mesh. These spaces are often filled with bone marrow. The solid part of spongy bone contains bone matrix, lacunae and canaliculi, but these aren't arranged in osteons.

Microscopic Structure of Bone

Osteoblasts and Osteoclasts

  • The cells in bone are the osteocytes, which are mature bone cells, the osteoblasts, which build bone, and the osteoclasts, which break down bone.
  • Bone is continually being remodelled by the osteoblasts and osteoclasts.
  • When bone is broken down, minerals are released into the bloodstream. When bone is made, minerals are absorbed from the bloodstream. The chief minerals in bone are calcium and phosphorus.
  • Unfortunately, as we age the osteoblasts become less active while the osteoclasts are relatively unaffected. This is especially true in women who are past menopause. Bone may be lost as a result. Exercise - especially weight-bearing exercise - can stimulate the activity of osteoblasts and restore some of the lost bone.

An illustration of the human skull
An illustration of the human skull | Source

Blood Cell Production

  • Red bone marrow contains stem cells that produce the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
  • In a newborn baby all the bone marrow is red. As a person grows, some of their red bone marrow is gradually replaced by yellow bone marrow. This type of bone marrow stores fatty acids instead of making blood cells.
  • In adults, red bone marrow is located in the spongy bone at the ends of the humerus and femur and in the skull, sternum, ribs, vertebrae and hip bones.
  • In cases of serious blood loss, the body can convert yellow bone marrow into red bone marrow.

Red bone marrow makes about 2 million red blood cells every second. These are used to replace the old and damaged red blood cells destroyed by the liver.

Other Functions of Bones

  • When muscles contract, they exert a pulling force on tendons. The tendons in turn pull on bones, enabling the body to move.
  • The skeleton protects vital organs and tissues. For example, the cranium protects the brain, the vertebrae protect the spinal cord and the rib cage protects the heart and the lungs.
  • Osteocalcin is a protein hormone made by the osteoblasts in bone. It stimulates bone building but also has effects outside the bones. It seems to be involved in a feedback loop involving the beta cells in the pancreas, which make insulin, and the adipocytes, or fat cells.

The Three Types of Joints: Learning Through Song

Joints

  • The bones of the skeleton are connected to other bones via joints.
  • Joints are classified as movable, slightly movable and immovable.
  • Fibrous joints (synarthroses) are immovable. The bones are joined by fibrous connective tissue and there is no cavity between the bones. The joints between the skull bones are fibrous joints.
  • Cartilaginous joints (amphiarthroses) are slightly movable. The bones are joined by cartilage and there is no cavity between the bones. The intervertebral disks located between the vertebrae are cartilaginous joints.
  • Synovial joints (diarthroses) are movable and are the most common type of joint in the body. The bones are joined together via ligaments and there is a fluid-filled cavity between the bones. Some examples of this type of joint are those found in the shoulder and hip joints, the elbow and ankle joints and the finger and toe joints.
  • Synovial joints are classified into other categories based on their structure and type of movement.

The skeleton is a vital part of the human body.
The skeleton is a vital part of the human body. | Source

Some Strange Facts about Skeletons

  • A baby is born with about 300 "bones", although some of these bones are made of cartilage. As the baby grows, a lot of the cartilage ossifies, or turns into bone, and some of the bones fuse. As a result, an adult has only about 206 bones, even though their body is bigger than a baby's.
  • Teeth are considered to be part of the skeletal system, although they are made of dentine and enamel instead of bone and have a different function from the rest of the skeletal system.
  • According to Guinness World Records, Evel Knievel holds the record for the largest number of broken bones in a lifetime. Knievel was a stunt performer who was born in 1938. By the end of 1975 he had suffered from 433 broken bones. He retired from major competitions in 1976.

© 2014 Linda Crampton

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    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, DzyMsLizzy. Thank you for the visit and the interesting comment. I think that physiology is fascinating, too. The human body is amazing!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 24 months ago from Oakley, CA

      This was most interesting. I have always been interested in studying about the human body. Physiology was one of my favorite classes in high school.

      I am very interested in the medical field, though there are several reasons I did not attempt that as a career. But I consider myself fairly well read for a lay person.

      Darn it--no more voting buttons!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the visit and the kind comment, Essie!

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      EsJam 24 months ago

      As always, another fantastic read!!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I appreciate your comment, Peg. Thank you very much for the congratulations, too.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 24 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Lots of interesting information. I loved learning about the middle ear and the photos of the skeletons were all fantastic. Congratulations on the Hub of the Day award.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the congratulations and the comment, Bill. I appreciate your second visit a great deal, too!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 24 months ago from Massachusetts

      Congratulations Linda. So well deserved.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much, Heidi! I appreciate the second visit and the kind comment.

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      Heidi Thorne 24 months ago from Chicago Area

      Loved this hub when you first published it. Big congrats on Hub of the Day! Well deserved!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the congrats, Kristen. I always appreciate your visits!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment, RTalloni. The skeleton is certainly fascinating!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 24 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Linda, congrats on HOTD! Your hubs are always interesting and amusing. And this one was one of them for sure.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 24 months ago from the short journey

      Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this useful look at our exceptionally detailed, finely tuned, interconnected, amaaaazzzzing workhorse of a skeletal system! :) To think of all we do know about it and wonder how much we have yet to learn is exciting. The growth and development from conception to old age is all by itself a lesson in being good stewards by taking care of the gift. (I'm pretty sure E. K. would affirm that thought by now!)

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, Akriti. I appreciate your visit and comment.

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      This post reminded me of lectures from high school. Very well written.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the lovely comment, Kim! I appreciate it a great deal. I hope your daughter finds the hub helpful if she reads it.

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 2 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      Linda, where were you when I needed you in high school biology class? Your hubs are always chocked-full of information. I'm going to get my one daughter to sit down and read this. They are currently studying this very subject and I think she'll have a lot to takeaway from this. Great job.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Deb!

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Dem bones, dem bones! While living, they are far from dry. Great job in relaying lesser known facts about our skeletal system.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, vespawoolf. Thanks so much for the lovely comment! I appreciate your visit.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      What a wealth of information on the human skeleton! I didn´t know that some people have an extra rib and that babies are technically born with more bones than an adult. Fascinating!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the visit and for commenting, dilipchandra12.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 2 years ago from India

      Very informative hub, looks like you did good research to simplify the topic and make it more easily understandable to everyone. Thank you.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, MsDora. I appreciate your comment a great deal.

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for this human anatomy lesson. More than I ever learned. The facts on bone marrow very interesting; the whole article really. Thank you so much.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Dianna. I appreciate the comment about my hub and the comment about my profile pic!

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      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      If anyone can make this subject come to life, it is you. Your posts are always a great read and educational. Well done! Also, I like your new profile pic.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much for the visit and the kind comment, Rebecca!

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      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is a very thorough and totally awesome article on human bones, and what a way to end it! Love it!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the comment and the vote, Vellur. I appreciate your visit!

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      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub, interesting and informative. You have clearly explained about the human skeleton and presented it so well in an interesting and easy to understand format. I learn a lot reading your educational hub, voted way up.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Laura! I appreciate the comment.

    • Laura Schneider profile image

      Laura Schneider 2 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

      Thanks for bringing bones to life for me! I love all of the detail you put into this and learned a lot, especially about the cells of the bones themselves. And how they form red blood cells so quickly! Cheers!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for such a kind comment, Bill! I appreciate your visit. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, too.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Fascinating hub Linda. I think I learned more from this hub about the human skeleton than I did while in school. Always an education, great job. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much for the visit and the comment, Martie!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      Extremely interesting and informative hub about the human skeleton, thank you, Alicia!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the visit, Jodah. I appreciate your comment and vote.

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very comprehensive article about the skeletal system and the importance of our bones Alicia. Very very interesting and educational read. Voted up.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment and the votes, thougtforce! I agree with you. Facts like the names of bones can easily be found in reference sources. Understanding relationships and functions is far more important.

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 2 years ago from Sweden

      A very educational and interesting hub about the human skeleton! Reading about the human skeleton reminds me how I and my friends struggled during my first education to remember every tiny bone in the human body. What was the use, I now wonder. The knowledge of the function of the bones is far more interesting than the names! I always enjoy to read your articles. Complete and packed with information as well as videos.voted up and more

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I appreciate the comment and the vote, goodnews11.

    • goodnews11 profile image

      OSBERT JOEL C 2 years ago from CHENNAI

      An Extra ordinarily informative hub.. voted useful..

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Audrey! I have a similar advantage to you. I live at the bottom of a forested hill, so it's easy to go walking uphill and downhill. It's great exercise for my dog, too!

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      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      This is exactly what I've been doing - walking uphill and downhill. I live in the forest so there's not much flat ground. I didn't realize that weight-bearing exercise included walking. How great! Thanks for the quick response to my question. You are the best!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the kind comment and all the votes and shares, Audrey! I appreciate your visit and support very much. I've read many reports which say that walking can be a good weight bearing exercise for the lower body if it's done correctly. Brisk walking is good. Hiking - or walking uphill and downhill - is even better. It's important to ease into these more stressful forms of walking gradually, though. As you say, trying to do too much at once can lead to injuries!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Such an in-depth, remarkable hub on the Human Skeleton. You've gone beyond the call with this one Alicia. When doing weight bearing exercises, which kind do you recommend? I tend to get over-enthusiastic and end up hurting myself. :)

      Voted up, interesting, useful, awesome and will pin on my board and share.

      Thanks for answering my question. :) Audrey

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Heidi. I'm sorry about your broken bones. One broken bone is bad enough, but more than one is very sad! I appreciate your votes and the share a great deal.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Amazing and helpful hub! Having suffered broken bones in an injury this summer, you can imagine that I'm much more informed than I wish to be on the subject. :( Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, DDE. I appreciate your comment and the votes.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the the visit and the comment, oldiesmusic.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A very interesting insight here. I like the way you presented all facts. Voted up, and useful.

    • oldiesmusic profile image

      oldiesmusic 2 years ago from United States

      Really educational! All I thought is that I have bones in my ears too. Nice hub! :)

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the comment, Dip Mtra.

    • Dip Mtra profile image

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Very informative. Thanks.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks do much for the lovely comment and all the kind shares, Faith! I appreciate them all a great deal. Thanks for the comment about the photo, too. It only took me four years to decide to use a photo of myself as my HubPages avatar!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Truly interesting facts about the human skeleton! The human body is fascinating, how each and every part works together. I always learn so much reading your great hubs.

      Up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      I love your new profile photo and being able to put your face to your writing!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Flourish. Thank you for the comment and the vote. I appreciate your visit and support, as always.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, Bill. I appreciate your visit and your kind comment very much!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      As much as I truly hate exercise, it's important to health not just for weight reasons, as you mention here. This was a good overview of the body's skeleton and all that it does for us. I learned a lot! Voted up and more.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Reading your articles, Linda, is like a mini-course in science, written for anyone to understand and always interesting. Well done as always.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment, ologsinquito. Yes, I think that many people believe that bone is inert. As you say, the human body is amazing!

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      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      Very interesting. We tend to think of bones as just being there, not living and active. The human body is so amazing and so complex.