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Skeletal system

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Name the main bones of the human body.
  2. Identify the two major subdivisions of the skeleton.
  3. Describe the five main classifications of types of bones, based on bone shape.
  4. List the main functions of the skeletal system.

Watch videos

The adult skeleton is composed of 206 individual bones. Together with joints, cartilage and ligaments these bones form our skeletal system.

The skeletal system has a number of important functions, it provides a protective and supportive internal framework for the human body, it forms a system of levers which skeletal muscles use to move the body in space, it stores fat and minerals and it is involved in blood cell formation.

Watch the following video to find out more about the bones of the skeleton, including its subdivision into axial and appendicular skeletons.

Learn how bones are classified by shape, by watching the video below.

To improve your understanding of skeletal system terminology, take a closer look at some commonly used roots, prefixes and suffixes related to the skeletal system in the video below.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the video about the main bones of the human body, solidify your knowledge by taking the following quiz.

If the quiz was too easy for you, don't worry, we got you covered. You can now choose your own topics and create your own customized quiz with the difficulty level of your choice. Try our custom quiz by clicking on the box below!

Why not test your memory with a bone labeling exercise? Below, you can see a labeled diagram showing the main bones of the body and an unlabeled diagram ready for you to fill in yourself.


Browse atlas

Take a closer look at the skeletal system in the gallery below. 


Key points about the skeletal system
Main bones of the human body

Axial skeleton: Frontal bone, maxilla, mandible, temporal bone, parietal bone, occipital bone, vertebral column, sacrum, coccyx, ribs, sternum

Appendicular skeleton:
 Clavicle, scapula, humerus, ulna, radius, carpal bones, metacarpals, phalanges of hand, ilium, ischium, pubis, femur, patella, tibia, fibula, tarsal bones, metatarsals, phalanges of foot
Types of bones Long, short, flat, irregular and sesamoid.
Functions of the skeletal system

Protection, support, movement (with involvement of the muscular system), storage of fat and minerals and blood cell formation.

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