How many bones does the human body have?

How many bones does the human body have? Did you only know that our skeletons do not have the same number of bones at birth and in adulthood?

Like many other parts of our body, our skeletons change with age. If at birth a baby is generally born with around 350 bones, in adulthood, he will have lost a great deal to end up with a skeleton made up of 214 bones.

Some bones disappear in adulthood

But how is it that we can literally lose several bones without even realizing it? Quite simply, because certain parts of our bones, failing to escape from our body, quite simply join together during the growth which can end in some individuals around their twenties.

This is the case, for example, for the 8 bones located at the level of the skull, the 26 located along the spine or those of the coccyx and the pelvis which binds to each other as we evolve.

A capital role:

Divided into two parts, our bone mass is made up of a so-called “axial” segment formed by the spine, rib cage, skull, and other associated bones, as well as an “appendicular” part formed by the girdle. Off the shoulder, pelvic girdle, and upper and lower limb bones.

Finally, in addition to supporting us and allowing us to move, bones also play a very important role in our health. The latter is used to produce blood cells, they contribute to the storage of minerals and allow endocrine regulation.

The human skeleton

Like other vertebrates, humans have an internal skeleton that serves as a support for the various muscles in their body, but also as protection for vital organs. The arrangement and articulation of the bones of the skeleton also determine the nature of the movements of the body.
The adult human skeleton usually has 206 bones, but this number can vary slightly from one individual to another: some individuals have, for example, an extra pair of ribs.
The bones of the human body are divided between the axial skeleton (the bones of the skull and face, the vertebrae, the ribs, and the sternum) and the appendicular skeleton, made up of the upper and lower limbs as well as the bony belts (shoulder bones and hips) which connect them to the axial skeleton.

Growth and structure of bones:

Bone formation begins in the embryonic stage, but many parts of the skeleton are still made of cartilage at birth. Bones do not reach their final size until adulthood. This growth takes place through a process called ossification: cartilage cells multiply, die, and are replaced by bone cells.

Pound for pound, a bone is 6 times stronger than a steel bar. This remarkable resistance comes from the nature of its fabrics. All bones are made up of an assembly of compact and spongy tissues, the proportion and arrangement of which differ between types of bone. These tissues contain collagen, a protein that gives the bones their flexibility, and mineral salts (calcium and phosphorus), responsible for their strength.

Types of bones:

The roughly 200 bones that make up the human skeleton are not all the same shape. There are generally 4 types of bones, according to their appearance: flat bones, short bones, long bones, and irregular bones. This classification highlights the match between the shape of a bone and its function.
Long bones, for example, such as the humerus, femur, or collarbone, are characterized by their elongated shape. But they can be small, like the phalanges of the fingers. The four limbs of the human body are made up mainly of long bones, on which motor muscles attach.

Complex assemblages of bones:

The head: The skull is not made up of a single bone, but of eight different elements that gradually merge to each other during growth. More numerous, the bones of the face take on irregular shapes. They outline the cavities of the mouth, nasal cavities, eye sockets, and sinuses.

The spine: The spine, also called the spine, is the central axis of the human body. It runs from the back of the skull to the pelvis and consists of a chain of 33 small bones, the vertebrae, which house the spinal cord and serve as attachment points for ribs and muscles.

The hand and the foot: With the evolution of the human species, the function of the hands and feet have clearly differentiated: the former serves to grip, while the latter ensures the stability and movement of the body. Despite these differences, the skeleton of the hand and the foot retain very great similarities: 5 fingers formed of phalanges, a central part made up of five long bones, and a posterior part, made up of short bones, which ensures the articulation of the limb. . Together, our two hands and both feet have 106 bones, which is more than half of our skeleton.

Broken bones:

Broken bone repairs itself. At the time of the fracture, blood flows from the torn blood vessels, and a clot forms. Special bone cells then invade the site of the accident and produce a callus, a kind of fibrous plug. The callus gradually replaces the blood clot and connects the two broken ends. Over time, it turns into real bone tissue. To allow a fracture to heal, the doctor often needs to put in a cast to immobilize the bone while it heals. About two months are enough for the bone to repair itself and everything to return to normal.


Physician Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays in 1895. Although invisible, this radiation could pass through the body and form an image on a photographic plate on the other side. Although they easily pass through soft organs such as skin and muscles, X-rays are less able to pass through denser material such as bones, leaving white marks in photographs where they are located. A few months after Röntgen’s discovery, many doctors were using the mysterious rays to diagnose fractures. In 1901, the German physicist received the Nobel Prize for his discovery.




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