August 10, 2011


Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue. Bones come in a variety of shapes and have a complex internal and external structure, are lightweight yet strong and hard, and serve multiple functions. One of the types of tissue that makes up bone is the mineralized osseous tissue, also called bone tissue, that gives it rigidity and a honeycomb-like three-dimensional internal structure. Other types of tissue found in bones include marrow, endosteum and periosteum, nerves, blood vessels and cartilage. There are 206 bones in the adult human body[1] and 270 in an infant. The largest bone in the human body is the femur.[2]

The primary tissue of bone, osseous tissue, is a relatively hard and lightweight composite material, formed mostly of calcium phosphate in the chemical arrangement termed calcium hydroxylapatite (this is the osseous tissue that gives bones their rigidity). It has relatively high compressive strength, of about 170 MPa (1800 kgf/cm²)[4] but poor tensile strength of 104–121 MPa and very low shear stress strength (51.6 MPa),[5] meaning it resists pushing forces well, but not pulling or torsional forces. While bone is essentially brittle, it does have a significant degree of elasticity, contributed chiefly by collagen. All bones consist of living and dead cells embedded in the mineralized organic matrix that makes up the osseous tissue.

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