Bone Functions and Features

Skeletal system

  • Comprises bones, their membranous linings, and cartilage.
  • Bones are living organs; they comprise connective tissue, nervous tissue, and epithelium.

Key features of bones:

  • Crest — a narrow ridge
  • Tubercle — a small irregular projection
  • Tuberosity — a large raised, roughened bony region.
  • Spine — a sharp raised projection
  • Notch — an indentation in bone
  • Trochanters — large irregular projections
  • Line or linea — a long narrow ridge
  • Head — an enlarged region of bone
  • Fovea — a small pit
  • Condyles — rounded ends or projections of bone
  • Epicondyle — a projection above a condyle (epi = on or above)
  • Facets — smooth articular surfaces
  • Meatus — a tubular passage
  • Fossa — shallow depression
  • Groove — a long narrow depression
  • Sinus — a hollow cavity within a bone
  • Process — a bony projection
  • Fissure — a long narrow opening
  • Foramen — a round opening in the bone through which nerves or blood vessels traverse
  • Ramus — an extension of bone


  • Features that serve as projections that form joints:
    Head (femur, rib)
    Condyle (femur)
    Facet (rib)
    Ramus (skull)
  • Features that serve as projections that attach muscle/ligaments:
    Tuberosity (os coxa)
    Tubercle (os coxa)
    Crest (os coxa)
    Spine (os coxa)
    Trochanter (femur)
    Line (linea) (femur)
    Epicondyle (femur)
    Process (skull)
  • Features that serve as depressions or openings:
    Meatus (skull)
    Sinus (skull)
    Fossa (skull)
    Groove or sulcus (skull)
    Fissure (skull)
    Foramen (skull)
    Notch (os coxa, skull)
    Fontanel (membranous covering; not shown)
    Fovea (small depression; not shown)

6 Key Functions of Bone:

  • Support: Forms the framework for physical form; attachment sites for muscles and connective tissues.
  • Movement: Acts as a series of levers when muscles contract to allow movement of body.
  • Protection: Protects vital organs from injury. For example: the skull protects the brain and the thoracic cage protects the heart and lungs.
  • Mineral storage: Provides a reservoir for calcium and phosphorus.
  • Blood cell production: Hematopoiesis occurs in red bone marrow.
  • Energy storage: Lipids are stored in adipose cells of yellow marrow.

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