Human skeletons. Coloured X-ray of a healthy man (left) and woman (right), showing their skeletons. The 206 bones of the skeleton provide protection and support. Joints between bones allow movement. The skull protects the brain, the ribs of the chest protect the heart and lungs, and the pelvis protects the lower abdominal organs. Long bones in the arms and legs provide support and the large number of bones in the hands and feet allow great dexterity. The backbone protects the spinal cord and allows flexibility of movement in the upper body. Women have a wider pelvis than men because of the requirements of childbirth.
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