The main functions of the skeletal system

The skeleton has five main functions:

  1. Movement – the skeleton allows movement of the body as a whole and its individual parts. The bones act as levers and also form joints that allow muscles to pull on them and produce movement.
  2. Support and protection – the bones of the skeleton provide support for the body and also protect the organs found within it. For example, the cranium protects the brain, the ribs offer protection to the heart and lungs, the vertebrae protect the spinal cord and the pelvis offers protection to the sensitive reproductive organs.
  3. Production of blood cells – certain bones in the skeleton contain red bone marrow and the bone marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Examples of bones that contain marrow are the pelvis, sternum, vertebrae and clavicle.
  4. Mineral storage – the bones themselves are made of minerals and act as a mineral store for calcium and phosphorous, which can be given up if the body requires the minerals for other functions.
  5. Attachment of muscles – the bones of the skeleton provide surfaces for the attachment of muscles. This is why bones are often irregular shapes and have bony points and grooves to provide attachment points.
The human skeleton and its various functions.