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MHT-CET : Biology Entrance Exam

MHT - CET : Biology - Human Skeleton Page 2

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10. Functions of Vertebral Column


  • The vertebral column protects the spinal cord.
  • The vertebral column supports the skull.
  • The vertebral column forms the axis of the body.
  • The vertebral column supports the body by providing necessary attachment for ribs, pelvic girdle and muscles of the back.
  • The intervertebral discs present between the vertebrae act as shock absorbers. They prevent the shocks from reaching the brain.
  • The vertebral column provides necessary rigidity and flexibility to the body.




Thoracic Cage


  • The many pieces of skeleton which collectively encircle the thoracic cavity is known as the thoracic cage.
  • The thoracic cage consists of
    a median sternum,
    12 pairs of ribs and
    12 thoracic vertebrae.
  • Sternum or Breast bone:
    The sternum consists of three parts, namely,
    - An upper part
    The body of the sternum or gladiolus
    - A middle part
    - A lower part






  • Ribs are long and curved bones lying on each side embedded in the thoracic wall.
  • There are 12 pairs of ribs in the thoracic cage. Of these, first ten pairs are joined to the sternum in front and to the vertebral column behind. The remaining two pairs of ribs are joined to the vertebral column only. They are called floating ribs.




Functions of Thoracic Cage


  • It protects the vital organs of thorax, namely, heart, main blood vessels and the lungs.
  • The ribs and intercostal muscles together produce the breathing movements. When the intercostal muscles contract, the ribs and sternum are lifted upwards, increasing the capacity of the thoracic cavity. This is how air is sucked into the lungs during inspiration.
  • By providing articulation with the clavicle, the sternum strengthens the anchorage of the forelimbs.
  • It supports the anterior muscles of the trunk region as well as the diaphragm.




Appendicular Skeleton


  • Appendicular skeleton includes the skeleton of the two pairs of appendages, forelimbs and hind limbs, and groups of bones called girdles to which they are attached.
  • The girdle to which the forelimb skeleton is attached is called the shoulder girdle or pectoral girdle.
  • The girdle to which the hind limb skeleton is attached is called the hip or pelvic girdle.




Pectoral Girdle of Man


  • The pectoral girdle of man consists of two symmetrical halves which are placed apart.
  • Each half of the pectoral girdle is made up of two bones, viz. clavicle or the collar bone and the scapula or the shoulder blade.




Bones of Forelimb


  • There are 30 bones involved in this group. These are:


Humerus (bone of upper arm)


1 Radius


Ulna (bones of forearm)


Carpals (wrist bones)


Metacarpals (bones of palms)


Phalanges (bones of digits)




Pelvic Girdle of Man


  • The pelvic girdle of man consists of two symmetrical bones called hip bones which were formerly known as innominate bones.
  • Each hip bone consists of three bones, viz. ilium, ischium and pubis.




Bones of Hind Limb


  • The 30 bones of the hind limb are:


Femur (thigh bone)




Fibula (bones of the shank)


Patella (knee cap)


Tarasals (ankle bone)


Metatarsals (bones of foot)


Phalanges (bones of toes)


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