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Lesson 7 - Joints and Axial Skeleton

First things first. The test in this section is a lab test. Models with labels will be laying on the tables and you will move from station to station identifying them. You will have two papers, one with numbers and lines to write down the answers, and a term list. This way, you mostly have to recognize the structure.
I will be asking for bones, landmarks (on the bones), as well as muscles. You don't have to know muscle attachments or muscle actions.

Alright, let's now go to today's material. We will first discuss joints and then dive right back into learning about more bony structures.
Please print or download the Class Notes provided below. I also suggest you print the Preview Questions. Then, watch the Lecture Videos and answer the questions. When you are done, email me the answers to Please do so before class to receive credit for your work.

Class Notes:
Joints (full pager)
Joints (2 per page)
Joints (3 per page)

Lecture Videos:

Preview Questions:
(printable version)
7.1. Joints are connections between bones. Muscles attach to bones and when they contract, they pull on them. This is how we can move around in the world. What is the process of self-propulsion by an animal called?
7.2. Joints are the most vulnerable part of the skeletal system; they break easier then bones do. We categorize joints by how much they move and by what kind of material reinforces their connection. What is the prefix we use to describe joints?
7.3. When we think of a joint, we think of one that moves freely, like a knee or finger joint. That is only one type, however. We have many places in the body where bones come together and there is practically no movement required. Syn- means ’together’. These types of joints use different types of material to form a strong bond. Can you list the different types of immovable joints?
7.4. Some joints are said to move a little. For example in your low back at the butt level is the pelvis, which has 2 joints in the back that rock back and forth, but are very limited in terms of motion; they are much better at transmitting forces. Most of what we study in this class, however, are the freely movable joints. Can you list the technical name for that group?
7.5. Consider your knee joint as you walk. It constantly bends and straightens back out every time you take a step. The two bones that meet will need protection, so we don’t rub bone (a fairly porous material) against one another. What is that protective material?
7.6. We have nourishing liquid inside these joints that help lubricate them. What structure keeps that fluid in and prevent the bones from separating during use?
7.7. All joints require different types of movement. A shoulder for example needs to move as freely as possible in all directions. This quality compromises its stability making it more vulnerable for injuries. Compare that to a hip joint, which is the equivalent in the pelvis. It is more concerned with stability, and therefore looses some of the flexibility. A finger joint for example basically needs to bend and then straighten back out. Can you list all the different types of synovial joints?
7.8. And of course, since all these different joints do different motions, we will give the movements their own names. Bending an elbow for example is called ‘flexion’. What do we call it when we straighten it back out?
7.9. Another interesting movement we find mainly in the limbs. If we move our hand away from the body, it is called ‘abduction’. What is it called when we bring the hand back to the body?
7.10. An interesting movement is turning the palm of your hand up or down. What are those movements called respectively?
7.11. And lastly, we look at the ankle. It mainly moves so the toes go up or down. It can also bend inward and outward a little bit. We often twist our ankles when the sole of a foot points inward. What is that motion called?

Here is an audio of the in-class presentation on joints:

Now that you understand the connections bones can make, lets talk about more bones. Today, we will review the axial skeleton followed by the appendicular skeleton (upper and lower extremities).

Class Notes:
Axial skeleton (full pager)
Axial skeleton (2 per page)
Axial skeleton (3 per page)

Lecture Videos:

Preview Questions:
7.12. This brings us to the bones that make up the trunk, basically the spinal column with the ribcage. Looking at the spine, we find a top, neck portion, a mid-section, and a low back area. Can you give the anatomical terms for those three regions?
7.13. Looking at a spine from the side helps us make out three distinct curves. The mid section bends back, and the top and bottom both forward. Primary curves are described as one a baby develops in the womb. Secondary ones form later when a baby holds up the head and starts walking. Which section(s) do we find secondary curves in?
7.14. All the vertebrae, except for the very top one, look pretty much alike. They all have a center piece, called a body, with 2 pillars sticking up that form an arch. In the body, the arch actually forms towards the back. The bumps you feel in your back are the outermost tips of these vertebral arches. The spinal cord runs through the channel that is formed by stacking the vertebrae on top of one another. Can you name the 4 main pieces that make up the vertebral arch?
7.15. The top vertebra is a ring structure balancing our head. It is named after the Greek God that carries the world on his shoulders. Can you name the top vertebra also known as C1?
7.16. The second neck bone is also unique. Evolutionarily, it absorbed C1’s missing body and incorporated it into its own bone, outfitting it with a peg around which the first vertebra can rotate….as in when you ‘say no’. What is that ‘tooth’ looking peg of the axis called?
7.17. There are two features that are unique to most cervical vertebrae. Can you identify them?
7.18. The mid-section, the thoracic spine, is where the ribs attach. Those vertebrae have joint surfaces for them. Which parts of most thoracic vertebrae do the ribs attach to?
7.19. What do you notice most about the lumbar vertebrae?
7.20. At the bottom of the spine, we have a structure made up of multiple fused vertebrae. What is it called?
7.21. On that bone, what is left of the spinous processes forms a ridge structure going up and down. You can feel it on you own. What is that called?
7.22. We don’t have tails like dogs or cats. But we have a remnant structure. Can you name it? (don’t mind the spelling)
7.23. With that, we come to the ribcage. In front of you chest is the breastbone. What is it’s anatomical name?

During the LAB, I want you to draw and label the structures presented in this section.
Here is the Term List that spells out which terms I like for you to know and study.

To study at home, these pages give you blank pictures of the structures for you to label. Remember, having to search in your brain for a term and then remembering it is one of the most beneficial ways to study this material; it's called a retrieval exercise. These labelling pages should help with that. Identify all the structures from the term list. Watch the videos below if you have difficulty finding them.

If you like a text to describe the structures, here is today's section of 'The Anatomy Academy' called Spines, Chest, and Bellies.

Here is an audio of the in-class presentation of the axial skeleton:

As you study for the terms, here is a good video in which I show the parts on the models:

Lab Videos:

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