Take a Tour of the Skeletal System, Part 1

Your skeleton is made up of all the bones in your body. Let's take a tour of your skeleton.

Let's start at the top. Feel your skull. That's the bone under your hair. The skull is its plain name. Its fancy name is the cranium. You'll impress your friends and family when you tell them the fancy names of your bones! There are eight bones that make up the cranium.

Your skull is made up of the cranium, the bones in the face, and the jawbone. The jawbone's fancy name is the mandible.

Your skull's job is to protect your brain. It feels hard and solid, doesn't it? When you were first born, they didn't join together. Later, as you grew, your skull bones grew together or fused.

Your skull has special holes for your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Put your fingers at the outside corner of your eyes. Feel the bone? You have 14 different bones in your face! Let's see… 14 bones in the face, plus 8 bones in the cranium…that's 22 bones. Some people also count the three tiny bones in each ear as part of the skull. Then there's the mandible, or jawbone… that makes a grand total of 29 bones in the skull. The head bone's connected to the...

Neck bones. On the back of your neck, you can feel the neck bones. They are called the cervical vertebrae (plural; say: VER-tuh-bray). Each vertebra (singular; say: VER-tuh-bruh) has a hole in the middle of it. They are shaped like rings. Your spinal cord passes through each vertebra.

The vertebrae protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves. Many nerves send messages from the brain to all parts of the body through the spinal cord.

Keep your fingers on the back of your neck and move your head up and down. The vertebrae move! They pivot so you can turn your head. The top vertebra is called the atlas. It holds up your head. It is named for the giant in a Greek myth who held the world on his shoulders. The neck bone's connected to the...

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