Biology: Muscular And Skeletal Systems: Part One
Muscular And Skeletal Systems
Types of Skeletal Systems
Movement is a major characteristic of animals. This movement is a result of contraction of muscles. The skeleton helps transmit that movement. Skeletons are either a fluid-filled body cavity, exoskeletons, or internal skeletons.
Hydrostatic skeletons consist of fluid-filled closed chambers. Internal pressures generated by muscle contractions cause movement as well as maintain the shape of the animals, such as the sea anemone and worms. The sea anemone has one set of longitudinal muscles in the outer layer of the body, and a layer of circular muscles in the inner layer of the body. The anemone can elongate or contract its body by contracting one or the other set of muscles.
Exoskeletons are characteristic of the phylum Arthropoda. Exoskeletons are hard segments that cover the muscles and visceral organs. Muscles for movement attach to the inner surface of the exoskeleton. Exoskeletons restrict the growth of the animal, thus it must shed its exoskeleton (or molt) to form a new one that has room for growth. The bulk and weight of the exoskeleton and associated mechanical problems limits the size animals can attain. Spiders use a combination of an exoskeleton for protection and fluid pressure for movement.
Vertebrates have developed an internal mineralized (in most cases) endoskeleton composed of bone and/or cartilage. Muscles are on the outside of the endoskeleton. Cartilage and bone are types of connective tissue. Sharks, and rays have skeletons composed entirely of cartilage; other vertebrates have an embryonic cartilage skeleton progressively replaced by bone as they mature and develop. Some areas of the human body, however, retain cartilage in the adult: in joints and flexible structures such as the ribs, trachea, nose and ears.
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