How Do You Read a Skeletal Chart of the Human Body?


Quick Answer

Read a human skeletal chart by categorizing and identifying the 206 bones in the human body, says Innerbody. Divide the human skeleton into two major sections, the axial and the appendicular, then identify the 80 bones in the axial skeleton and the 126 bones in the appendicular skeleton.

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Full Answer

Locate the skull, ribs, sternum and spine to define the axial skeleton, explains Innerbody. Find the hyoid and auditory ossicles to complete this section. Look under the jaw bone to locate the hyoid, and spot the auditory ossicles inside the temporal bone, which is part of the skull. Identify the fused bones in the skull, such as the cranium on top and the facial bones that support the nose, mouth and eyes. Divide the spine into five parts, starting at the top: seven cervical bones, 12 thoracic bones, five lumbar bones, the sacrum and the coccyx.

Look for the rib bones attached to the sternum in the center of the chest, says Innerbody. Note that the top seven attach the thoracic vertebrae to the sternum, while the bottom five have no direct connection to the sternum.

Identify the bones in the pelvis and shoulders and the bones in the arms and legs, which include hand and foot bones, states Innerbody. Look at the shoulders, and locate the clavicles in front and the scapulae behind. Look at the pelvis and find the left and right hip bones. Identify the three bones in each arm and leg, then find the hand and foot bones.

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