Support and Locomotion - Bone structure

Some notes that I have prepared for revision on bone structure in OCR A2 Biology- support and locomotion, with diagrams and definitions.

Let me know if I have missed anything, or if anything is unclear and I'll edit it asap :)

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  • Created by: Louise
  • Created on: 05-04-09 21:01
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A2 OCR Biology (old spec.)
Support and
Locomotion Notes
(Part 1 - Structure)
Mammalian Physiology and Behaviour

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Page 2

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Function of the
human skeleton:
support, structure,
The human skeleton is
made mostly of
bone, with cartilage
covering the end of
moveable joints to
provide lubrication- so
it is easier to move.
As a foetus develops,
the skeleton is made
only of cartilage.
During growth and
development, this is
mostly replaced by
bone. This process is
Bone and cartilage are living tissues ­ they contain living cells.…read more

Page 3

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They require nutrients and oxygen, which are supplied by the blood.
Compact bones are found in most of the long shafts of bone in the body, i.e. the limbs.
Light micrograph of a
transverse section of compact
Compact bone has many closely
packed concentric circular arrangements. Each circle is called a Haversian system.
The lacunae, which can be seen above, and the `thread-like' canaliculi which branch
from them are filled with osteocytes (which begin their lives as bone forming cells
called osteoblasts).…read more

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Living bone is broken down by osteoclasts, allowing bone structure to be altered,
for example to repair damage.
Hyaline cartilage is a translucent
tissue found covering the ends of bones
at moveable joints, in the ribs where they
join to the sternum, and in the C-shaped
cartilage rings that surround and support
the trachea.
The living cells in cartilage are called
chondrocytes and they produce and
maintain the matrix in which they lie.…read more

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The axial skeleton comprises of the middle of the skeleton- the skull, vertebral
column, ribs and sternum.
The appendicular skeleton comprises of the limb bones, the pectoral girdle and the
pelvic girdle
The Axial Skeleton
There are 33 vertebrae:
7 cervical (support head/neck), 12 thoracic (support chest/rib articulation), 5
lumbar (large muscles of lower back attach to), 5 fused sacral vertebrae (supports
and articulates with hip bones), and the 4 fused tail vertebrae - the coccyx.
Joints between vertebrae are known as intervertebral joints.…read more

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Neural spine - Backwards pointing process, larger than in thoracic vertbrae.
Articular processes - On the upper and lower surface, in contact with
the vertebrae either side.
Thoracic Vertebra:
Thoracic vertebrae are similar,
except the neural spines are much
longer and more slanted than in a
lumbar vertebra.…read more

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Appendicular skeleton ­ the limb bones
Axial skeleton ­ the middle of the skeleton
Calcium phosphate - deposited among collagen fibres in compact bone- provides compressive
Canaliculi ­ thread like structures which branch from lacunae in compact bone
Chondrocyte ­ the living cells in cartilage
Collagen ­ molecules of tropocollagen linked together.…read more

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Intervertebral joints ­ joints between vertebrae
Lacunae ­ contain osteocytes
Lumbar vertebrae ­ the vertebrae to which the large muscles of the lower back are attached
Ossification ­ formation of bone from cartilage during development and growth
Osteoblasts ­ cells that form bone
Osteoclasts ­ cells that break down living bone
Osteocytes ­ living cells in bone, which start their lives as osteoblasts
Tensile strength ­ bone can withstand pulling forces (due to collagen)
Thoracic Vertebrae ­ the vertebrae supporting the chest and articulating with…read more


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