Link #127: You lose About 100 Bones by the Time you’re An Adult!

 

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Link #127: You lose About 100 Bones by the Time you’re An Adult!

bones
Image credit: ClkerFreeVectorImages/CC0 Public Domain.

We most probably surprised you when we explained in our last post that baby teeth can begin to form as early as six weeks in the mother’s womb. The reason for that was because most people think that baby teeth form around the six month period as that is the time when they start showing up.

However, there are many other things about the development of human babies that are much more surprising than the fact that teeth development starts in the womb. For example, did you know that you actually lose about 100 bones between birth and adulthood? You read that right. You have approximately 100 fewer bones when you become an adult as you did when you were a baby!

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How Can A Human Baby Lose Bones?

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Simple skull icon. Author: Steaphan Greene/CC BY-SA 3.0

While using the term ‘lose’ may be a bit of poetic licence, it’s a fact that you have fewer bones at the time of adulthood than you did at the time of your birth. Roughly speaking, a human baby is born with 300 bones. Many of these bones are actually cartilage but they qualify in the same category.

By the time you complete the puberty stage of your life, the number of bones in your body has actually gone down to only 206. All human adults have only 206 bones. How does this happen?

At birth, babies usually have smaller bones that are joined by connective tissue. Moreover, a lot of these bones are actually cartilage. By the time a baby becomes an adult, many of these bones have fused together to form larger bones while cartilage sections have become bones too. The best example of this is the skull. An adult human has a solid skull while a baby skull consists of five different segments.

Why Are Babies Born With More Bones Than Required?

baby
Image credit: CC0 Public Domain

It would be wrong to say that babies are born with more bones than they need or that a human adult has fewer bones that required. The needs of a baby are different from the needs of an adult. In other words, there are two reasons why babies are born with almost 300 bones.

The first reason is the birthing process. A baby has to pass through a very tight region to be born. The fragmented skull allows the baby’s head to squeeze and become smaller which helps the birthing process. Without this natural mechanism, it would be almost impossible for babies to be born.

The other reason why babies need to have a pliable skeletal structure is the speed with which their bodies develop and grow. Fragmentation of bones interspersed with cartilage is the most efficient method for the baby’s body to adapt to fast developing organs and body parts.

In contrast, a grown adult’s primary requirement from the skeletal system is protection for fully grown organs. This is why bones become denser and stronger by adulthood.

Effectively, as a baby grows older, the skeletal system starts becoming less and less pliant. By the end of the puberty stage, 300 pliant bones have fused together to become 206 solid and dense bones.



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Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/218698-baby-bone-development/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/factfiles/bonegrowth/femur.shtml
http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/how-many-bones-does-newborn-baby-have-188377
http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/musculoskeletal/babies-kneecaps1.htm

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