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Appendicular Skeleton



The skeleton is divided into two major parts, the axial skeleton (bones of the head, neck, and trunk of the body) and the appendicular skeleton. The appendicular skeleton consists of bones that form the limbs and supportive girdles. There are many functions of the appendicular skeleton. For example, the upper limbs are used to grasp items, reach in all directions, and acquire food. The lower limbs support the weight of and stabilize the human body and allow for mobility by various means, such as walking and running. The shoulders and pelvis attach the limbs to the axial skeleton, and the pelvis provides protection to internal organs. More than half of the bones in the human body are found in the appendicular skeleton.

At A Glance

  • The appendicular skeletal division includes bones that make up the limbs, shoulders, and pelvis.
  • The pectoral girdle consists of two pairs of bones, the scapula and clavicle, that attach the upper limbs to the axial skeleton.
  • The scapula is part of the pectoral girdle and is found on the upper region of the back near the shoulder.
  • As part of the pectoral girdle, the clavicle works in conjunction with the scapula to support upper limb stability and movement.
  • The arm has one large bone, the humerus, that connects to the forearm, which is made up of the radius and ulna.
  • The wrist is made of several bones called carpals, and the hand is made of metacarpals in the palm of the hand and phalanges in the fingers.
  • The pelvic girdle, or pelvis, functions to connect the lower limbs of the body to the axial skeleton.
  • The upper leg contains the femur, located in the thigh, and the lower leg contains two bones, the tibia and fibula.
  • The ankle is made up of several tarsal bones, the sole and arch of the foot contain tarsals and metatarsals, and the toes contain a set of bones called phalanges.