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A2 OCR Biology (old spec.)

Support and
Locomotion Notes
(Part 1 - Structure)
Mammalian Physiology and Behaviour


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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.

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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…

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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…

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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

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attach here, requiring the transverse process.
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…

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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…

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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…


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