Introductory Anatomy: Bones Anatomists talk about both bone and bones. The former is a type of connective tissue made up of cells suspended in a matrix: the collagenous matrix in bone just happens to be heavily impregnated with minerals. You will learn about bone cells elsewhere, but here is a picture of a cast of one, just to prove they exist . This osteocyte has characteristic long processes which run through the bone putting it in touch both with other cells and with blood vessels and nerves. Bones are discrete organs made up of bone tissue, plus a few other things. The main misconception about bones then, is that they are made up of dead tissue. This is not true, they have cells, nerves, blood vessels and pain receptors. Bone constituents, organic and inorganic matrix and cells all turn over at a fairly rapid rate. If we treat a bone with various solvents we can remove the inorganic matrix and leave the flexible collagen. Or we can burn a bone and leave a hard brittle residue.
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