Appendicular skeleton


The appendicular skeleton is the portion of the skeleton of vertebrates consisting of the bones that support the appendages. There are 126 bones. The appendicular skeleton includes the skeletal elements within the limbs, as well as supporting shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle.[1] The word appendicular is the adjective of the noun appendage, which itself means a part that is joined to something larger.

Appendicular skeleton
Appendicular skeleton diagram.svg
Human appendicular skeleton
Latinskeleton appendiculare
Anatomical terminology
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The organization of the appendicular systemEdit

Of the 206 bones in the human skeleton, the appendicular skeleton comprises 126. Functionally it is involved in locomotion (lower limbs) of the axial skeleton and manipulation of objects in the environment (upper limbs).

The appendicular skeleton forms during development from cartilage, by the process of endochondral ossification.

The appendicular skeleton is divided into six major regions:

Through anatomical variation, the skeleton may have an accessory bone. Examples include sutural bones in the skull, cervical ribs, lumbar ribs, and a sixth lumbar vertebrae. Some occurrences are rarer than others.

The appendicular skeleton of 126 bones and the axial skeleton of 80 bones together form the complete skeleton of 206 bones in the human body. Unlike the axial skeleton, the appendicular skeleton is unfused. This allows for a much greater range of motion.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Skeleton Encyclopædia Britannica. Updated 24 August 2014.