Lab 4 - Human Osteology.docx - ANT 3514C Introduction to...

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ANT 3514C – Introduction to Biological Anthropology Lab 4: Human Osteology Use Appendix A of Your Textbook as a Guide. You may also refer to the following websites for this lab and any that follow: , , and (for this website you will need to create an account but it is free!) Lab Objectives: Apply positional terminology to describe the relationships of osteological features Identify and label the largest bones and features of the human skull and skeleton Identify the human dental formula and different tooth types Examine the functional implications of different skeletal regions Understand the dynamic biology of the human skeleton over an individual’s lifespan Purpose: To provide an introduction to basic osteological knowledge. Osteology is the detailed study of bones and teeth. It should come as no surprise that for many centuries people have been heavily invested in studying human anatomy for its medical applications. The fundamentals of human anatomy were understood by most ancient civilizations, and the study of anatomy in Western universities – even through the Middle Ages – was founded on the antique writings of the Greek physician Aelius Galenus (“Galen”) from the late 100’s A.D. Ironically, the laws of the Roman Empire that Galen served forbade the dissection of human beings, and therefore his anatomical descriptions were based not on the direct study of humans, but rather the comparative study of animals such as pigs and primates. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that intellectual curiosity in the human body was reborn and the study of human anatomy was pursued again in earnest. Principal among these anatomists were figures such as Henry Gray (of “Gray’s Anatomy ”) and Georges Cuvier, who pushed the study of comparative anatomy to new limits and founded the field of paleontology. While the skeleton plays an obvious role as the support system for the rest of the body—making movement possible, and protecting vital organs like the heart, lungs, and brain—a new understanding is emerging of bones as an important, dynamic organ of the body. Your bones achieve their shape thanks to the influence of the muscles, blood vessels, and nerves that surround them, but continue to change throughout life in response to activity, nutrition, and disease. In addition to vital metabolic and physiological functions, bones produce a hormone (an important messaging molecule in the body) named osteocalcin that plays a vital role in your body’s ability to maintain healthy blood sugar, regulate testosterone levels, and stave off depression.

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