Biology 13A Lab #5: Skeletal System

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1 Biology 13A Lab #5: Skeletal System Lab #5 Table of Contents: Expected Learning Outcomes Introduction Activity 1: Getting Wired Activity 2: Variation due to Sex and Age. 47 Expected Learning Outcomes At the end of this lab, you will be able to identify major bones of the human body; explain the relationship between bone shape and function; identify sex differences in the skeleton; and describe how the skeleton changes with age. Figure 5.1 Human Skeleton & Rhinoceros Jan Wandelaar ( ) 43

2 Introduction The skeleton is composed of bones, ligaments, and joints that connect the bones. Its complex structure reflects both movement potential and evolutionary history. The human skeleton, for example, exhibits unique features in the vertebral column, pelvis, and lower limbs associated with bipedal locomotion. The skeleton is more than just a scaffold for soft tissues; it is physiologically dynamic, responding to mechanical stress and dietary demands. It produces blood cells and is a reserve for calcium. People s experiences are written in their bones experts can tell much about how a person moved and worked, their diet, growth and development, and disease from examining their skeletal remains. In this lab, you will have a chance to see details of the skeleton and to learn about how it varies among individuals. Check Your Understanding: Answer the following questions based on your reading of the introduction. 1. Explain the phrase: the structure of the human skeleton reflects evolutionary history. 2. Why do you think an organism s locomotor habits affect the skeleton? What parts of the human skeleton are most dramatically shaped by bipedal locomotion? 3. List three functions of the skeleton. Activity 1: Getting Wired Postcranial Bones In this exercise, you will locate and attach labels to specific bones of the articulated skeleton. 1. Each group should obtain a plastic baggie with colored fuzzy chenille wires. 2. Use your book or anatomical posters to locate each of the labeled bones. 3. Attach the wires to the appropriate bones. Lab #5: Skeletal System 44

3 Functional Perspective It is fun and satisfying to identify structures but naming something doesn t mean you understand it. The structure of each of the bones relates to its function. For example, examine the humerus. The proximal end of the humerus has the round head that freely rotates in all directions against the shallow glenoid cavity of the scapula. This articulation underlies our human ability to reach overhead or to wind up for a baseball pitch. The distal end of the humerus is complex because it articulates with the two forearm bones; the bony articulation with the ulna enables forearm flexion and extension, whereas the rounded portion of the humerus allows the round head of the radius to turn so that you can put your palms face up or rotate them to face the ground. The bones that you identified on the skeleton are listed below. After each bone, list a movement it provides. Usually more than one movement is associated with each bone; you only need to list one (e.g. the humerus is associated with shoulder rotation, flexion, extension, and elbow flexion and extension). Humerus Scapula Radius Ulna Innominate (Os coxae) Femur Tibia Atlas and Axis Lumbar vertebra Phalange (hand) Metacarpal Metatarsal Lab #5: Skeletal System 45

4 Cranial (Skull) Bones The skull consists of 22 different bones joined together at joints called sutures. Work in your group to identify the following bones and sutures on the skulls. Frontal Bone Parietal Bones Temporal Bones Occipital Bone Maxilla Mandible Sagittal Suture Coronal Suture Functional Perspective List at least 5 functions of the head. a. b. c. d. e. How do the functions of the head relate to the complex structure of the skull? Lab #5: Skeletal System 46

5 Activity 2: Variation Due to Sex and Age The skeleton varies between men and women and it also changes as one grows from a fetus, to an infant, to adulthood and old age. Variation due to sex and age is used by experts to identify skeletal remains. If a skeleton is found in the Santa Cruz mountains, for example, the first thing forensic scientists will do is try to determine whether the individual was male or female, and whether he/she was a child or an adult. The main functions of the skeleton are support and locomotion. A question you may ask is why there would be sex differences, if both men and women have to haul their carcasses around? Women do something that men don t they become pregnant and give birth. The female pelvis has to accommodate locomotive and reproductive demands. The woman s pelvis is wider and has modifications to allow the largebrained human baby to get through the birth canal. There are less marked sex differences in other parts of the skeleton. Testosterone in males enhances growth of skeletal muscles which pull on bones and produce more prominent ridges and bumps compared to females. These features of the skull can be used to distinguish males from females. Sex Differences and the Skeleton Examine the pelvis bones in front of you. How can the pelvis be modified to make the outlet bigger in women? After examination, determine the sex of the bones in front of you. Use the terms below to guide your analysis. Draw a simple diagram of the pelvis and label these features. Lab #5: Skeletal System 47

6 SubPubic Angle Sciatic Notch Bending of the Sacrum to the Coccyx Width of the Ischial Spines Write down the sex of the pelves that are in front of you. A. B. Examine the skulls. There are differences in men and women that relate to musculature and size. Identify the features listed below and try to figure out whether the skulls on the table are male or female. Supraorbital Ridges Chin Nuchal Crest Mastoid Process Variation Due to Age There are various ways that experts can determine age in a skeleton. The best estimates of age are in young people for two reasons. First, there is a specific pattern of eruption of baby and adult dentition that has been well-studied and documented. You can compare the development of teeth to established charts. Second, patterns and average ages of fusion of the bones has been established. Bones grow at the epipyhses (ends) and the pattern has been well-studied. For example, the iliac crest, the upper edge of the pelvic bone, is completely fused by age 23. Before the 20 s, age can be established by tooth development and bone fusion. Once individuals reach age 25 or older, the estimates become less exact and are based on degenerative changes such as tooth wear, arthritis, and fusion of sutures in the skull. Lab #5: Skeletal System 48

7 Examine the fetal skull. What are the openings called that are not fully ossified? Why does the fetal skull have these openings? List three differences between the adult skull and the baby skull. a. b. c. Examine the long bones. Identify one that has a fully fused epiphysis and one that does not. Where does bone growth occur? Lab #5: Skeletal System 49

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