The skeletal system consists of cartilage and
bone. It supports the human body and gives it shape.
Cartilage: largely composed of water and contains no nerves or blood vessels. There are
three types of
cartilage. Hyaline cartilage
provides support with flexibility and resistance. It is the most abundant cartilage,
covering the bone ends at movable joints, and connecting the ribs to the
sternum. Elastic cartilage supports the external
ear and forms the epiglottis. This cartilage can stretch and bend repetitively without
damage. Fibrocartilage is found in the knee, and as
disks between vertebrae. It acts as padding for bones.
Bones: 206 named bones,
grouped into the axial and appendicular skeletons. The axial skeleton is the bones
of the head and trunk, and the appendicular skeleton is the bones of the upper and lower
limbs. Bone provides a hard framework that is able to support the body and cradle
delicate organs. Bones also act as levers to move parts of the body. And more
importantly, bones store minerals, and produce bone marrow, essential to producing blood.