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5.1: Introduction to Bone Tissue and the Skeletal System

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  • Chapter Learning Objectives

    After studying this chapter, you will be able to:

    • List and describe the functions of bones
    • Describe the classes of bones
    • Discuss the process of bone formation and development
    • Explain how bone repairs itself after a fracture
    • Discuss the effects of exercise, nutrition, and hormones on bone tissues

    Bones make good fossils. While the soft tissue of a once living organism will decay and fall away over time, bone tissue will, under the right conditions, undergo a process of mineralization, effectively turning the bone to stone. A well-preserved fossil skeleton can give us a good sense of the size and shape of an organism, just as your skeleton helps to define your size and shape. Unlike a fossil skeleton, however, your skeleton is a structure of living tissue that grows, repairs, and renews itself. The bones within it are dynamic and complex organs that serve a number of important functions, including some necessary to maintain homeostasis.

    Small child looking at fossils in a large rock
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Child Looking at Fossils. Bone is a living tissue. Unlike the bones of a fossil made inert by a process of mineralization, a child’s bones will continue to grow and develop while contributing to the support and function of other body systems. (Image credit: "Child Looking at Bones" by OpenStax is licensed under CC BY 4.0)

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