The normal human skeleton consists of 206 bones, providing a mobile supporting framework for the body and a protective carapace for the vital organs. (There are also the sesamoid bones, which are formed in tendons and do not directly connect with the others. These are not counted in the total of 206, and are not germane to our discussion here.) The bones are bound to one another by tough, flexible ligaments. At the joints, each articulating bone surface is covered by a thin layer of cartilage, which bears the brunt of the wear and tear and needs constantly to be replaced. The whole joint is enclosed by a capsule of connective tissue, which secretes sinovial fluid to provide lubricant.
Central to the human skeletal system is the spine, a flexible column of 33 vertebrae supporting the skull, pectoral girdle (or shoulderframework), rib-cage and pelvis. The arms are connected to the shoulder girdle, the legs to the pelvis.
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