Bones L01

1. Understand the basics of bone markings/macroscopic bone anatomy terminology.

The macroscopic appearance of bone varies based on the function of that area of bone (e.g. muscle tendon/ligament attachment, neurovasculature entering/exiting bone, joint formation, etc.) and between individuals. Understanding the basic terminology of macroscopic bone anatomy will assist in further osteological analysis.

A basic division of osteological landmarks includes: depressions/openings & projections/processes.

Depressions and openings have two main functions: allowing the passage of soft tissue through or along bone and formation of joints. The articular surfaces of bone (joint formation) are smooth, as they were covered with articular cartilage during life.

See Table 1 for a list of depressions/openings that are commonly found on bones of upper/lower limbs.

Table 1: Osteological landmarks: depressions/openings

Projections and processes have two main functions: formation of joints and attachment points for connective tissues (muscle tendons, ligaments). See Table 2 for a list of projections/processes that are commonly found on bones of upper/lower limbs.

Table 2: Osteological landmarks: projections/processes