The purpose of studying human skeleton in Anthropology is manifold. Blumenbach (1752-1840) first attempt to classify human beings on the basis of shapes of ‘Norma verticalis’ of human of human cranium initiated the Classical Physical Anthropology for which he is regarded as the Father of Physical Anthropology.

Image Credit : Science Direct

The principle objective behind the study of human skeleton is to observe the human evolution and variation. Skeleton studies also provide the edge to the forensic application.  Hence study of human skeleton becomes indispensable in anthropology. Also comparative understanding of anatomical distinctiveness of humans in relation to other members of the primate order is an essential prerequisite to comprehend structural evolution. In the scientific society, the scientific study of bones is known as Osteology. As bones are integrated into a structural skeleton, that in turn provides the basis for the anatomy.  Now, the word anatomy derived either (?) from French word Anatomie or from Late Latin form of the Greek word Anatomica, meaning “bodily structure” or “skeleton”.

Let us understand some very basic term related to Human Skeleton Study:

  1. Anterior: Towards the front i.e., towards the direction of the eyes.
  2. Posterior: Towards the back i.e., opposite the direction of the eyes.
  3. Superior:  Towards the head i.e., upwards.
  4. Inferior: Towards the feet i.e., downwards.
  5. Medial# : On or towards the median plane.
  6. Lateral: Towards the side. i.e., away from the body.
  7. Proximal: Relatively towards the body.
  8. Distal: Relatively away from the body.
  9. Buccal: Towards the neck.
  10. Lingual: Towards the tongue.
  11. Labial: Towards the lips.
  12. Cranial: Towards the cranium.
  13. Caudal: Towards the tail (coccyx).
  14. Articular surface: Smooth area for articulation with other bone.
  15. Trochlea: Pully-Shaped surface.
  16. Fossa: Depression on bone.
  17. Tubercle: Localised rounded elevation, the surface may be smooth or rough.
  18. Condyle: Smooth and rounded projection.
  19. Epicondyle: Elevation placed above a condyle.
  20. Process: Elevation and projection on bone surface.
  21. Spine: Pointed process.
  22. Ridge: Elongated and elevation on the bone surface.
  23. Line: Low and narrow ridge.
  24. Crest: Sharp and distinct ridge.
  25. Canal: A bony tunnel.
  26. Foramen: A hole in a bone.
  27. Sulcus: A groove and furrow on the bone surface.
  28. Suture: Line along which two individual bones of the skull meet one another, very irregular and serrated like the edge of a saw.
  29. Lamina: Thin sheet or plate of bone.
  30. Sinus: Inflated chamber of bone, usually air space within a bone.   

(?) : Still yet to find.

#: The skeleton may be divided into two nearly symmetrical and identical halves by an imaginary longitudinal line, which is best, conceived as if a vertical plane.  This vertical plane will cut the external surface in a line which is termed as the median line, and the vertical plane is accordingly called the median plane or mid sagittal plane (as it passes through the sagittal suture on the skull).

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