The skeleton of any animal has many functions including:
- Protection: The skull protects the brain and the rib cage protects the heart and lungs. The backbone is important to protect the spinal chord.
- Support: Bones give us shape and a framework for vital organs to be stored safely inside.
- Blood formation: In some bones there is red bone marrow which produces red blood cells.
- Movement: Muscles are attached to bones and bones have joints which allow the body to move. Animals need to move towards food and away from predators.
- Skeleton muscles: These muscles are attached to the skeleton. A muscle is attached to bones via a tendon. Muscles that work in pairs are known as antagonistic muscles. When muscles contract, they pull the bone to which they are attached closer. As one muscle contracts, the other relaxes. Muscles are effects which respond to nervous impulses.
- Peristalsis is the movement of muscles to force food along the gut. This happens without our control.
There are two main types of joints (where two bones meet):
- Hinge joints: Move in one direction like a hinge. Up and down. e.g. knee joint
- Ball and socket joints: These can move in many directions freely. e.g. shoulder