Bone Function And Structure

The bones that make up the skeleton function in a variety of ways. Bones provide a rigid framework against which muscles can pull, give shape and structure to the body, and support and protect delicate internal organs. Notice, for example, that the ribs curve to form a cage that contains the heart and lungs. Similarly, bones in the skull form the cranium, a dome-shaped case that protects the brain. Bones also store minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, which play vital roles in important metabolic processes. In addition, the internal portion of many bones produces red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells.

Despite their number and size, bones make up less than 20 percent of the body's mass. The reason for their having relatively little mass can be better understood by looking at bone structure. Bones are not dry, rigid structures, as they may appear in a museum exhibit. They are moist, living tissues.

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