Students typically begin by examining an articulated1 skeleton (dried bones held together by wires and rods to show their spatial relationships to each other) or a disarticulated skeleton (one that is taken apart so that the anatomy of individual bones can be studied in more detail). The skeleton is shown in figure 8.1. Note that it is divided into two regions: the axial skeleton, which forms the central supporting axis, and the appendicular skeleton, which includes the limbs (appendages or extremities) and the bones that attach them to the axial skeleton. The axial skeleton includes the skull, auditory ossicles, hyoid bone, vertebral column, and thoracic cage (ribs and sternum). The appendicular skeleton includes the bones of the upper limb and pectoral girdle and the bones of the lower limb and pelvic girdle.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.