GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Female skeleton. X-ray of the skeleton in a normal woman. 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 (not clearly seen) protects the spinal cord and allows flexibility of movement in the upper body. The pelvis in a female skeleton is wider than in a male skeleton because of the requirements of childbirth. For an X-ray of the skeleton in a man, see image P100/094.
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