What are the functions of vertebrates?
Functions of vertebrate endoskeleton
As is evident from its description in preceding pages, the endoskeleton has a wide utility in vertebrate body. Its varied functions can be summarized as follows
(1) As a well-organized symmetrical framework, it imparts a definite shape and bilateral symmetry to the body.
(2) It provides a physical support to the body and the limbs, preventing the body from collapsing or becoming deformed during active locomotion.
(3) Its strong, yet movable joints provide for specific types of movements of jointed skeletal elements. Movements of these elements, in turn, cause relevant movements of concerned parts of the body without the danger of their dislocation.
(4) About 40% of a vertebrate body is striped muscles. The latter lie under the whole skin and in the limbs, surrounding the skeletal framework and mostly attached to it. Obviously, it is the contractions of these muscles which move the skeletal elements at their joints like levers moving at fulcra. Movements of bones, then, bring about movements of limbs and other parts of body.
(5) It protects the internal organs from external pressures, abrasion, shocks, physical injuries and other hazards.
(6) It houses, for special protection, the most vital organs of body, viz., the brain, spinal cord and special receptors.
(7) By forming a thoracic cage, it protects important organs like heart and lungs and also helps in the breathing movements of the chest for ventilation of lungs.
(8) A few small bones, located in the ear ielp in hearing.
(9) The long bones of limbs are hollow with a soft tissue, called bone marrow, filled in their cavities. Bone marrow is a haemopoietic tissue, producing blood corpuscles.
(10) The bulk of body’s calcium occurs in the bones. Many bones undergo continuous dissolution and reformation throughout life. This is a homoeostatic mechanism to regulate calcium metabolism in the body.
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