Type and Classification of Bones

len Alfred Ajibola - Tue, 02nd July, 2019 @ 5:20: PM

Topics in Biology

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Academic Questions in Biology

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

In a food chain, the primary consumers are classified under trophic level  _____.

  • A. Zero

  • B. One

  • C. Two

  • D. Three

  • E. Four

  • F. Five

Cold blooded animals are referred to as _____.

  • A. Homeotherms

  • B. Endotherms

  • C. Poilokitherms

  • D. Ectotherms

  • E. Thermotherms

  • F. None of the above

All reptiles are vertebrates.

  • A. True

  • B. False

_____ cells are responsible for the formation of osteoblasts.

  • A. Osteocytes
  • B. Chondrocytes
  • C. Chondroblasts
  • D. Osteoclasts
  • E. Osteoprogenitor cells
  • F. Osteoblastic

_____ is a bone that constitute the axial skeleton.

  • A. Clavicle
  • B. Scapula
  • C. Patella
  • D. Radius
  • E. Sternum
  • F. Femur

Which of the following is false concerning cartilages and bones?

  • A. Cartilage does not have a direct blood supply while bones have direct blood supply
  • B. The process of ossification replaces a cartilage to bone
  • C. The protein that makes up cartilage is called chondrin while that that makes up bone is called ossein
  • D. Cartilage grows from both ends while bones grow from one of its epiphysis
  • E. They both have living cells within them
  • F. Haversian system is absent in cartilage but present in bones

A diagram showing the movement of energy through a food chain is called a _____.

  • A. Food Chain
  • B. Food Web
  • C. Food Energy
  • D. Food Link
  • E. Food Flow
  • F. Food Pyramid

Which of the following is NOT a part of the wrist bones (or carpal bones)?

  • A. Cuboid
  • B. Scaphoid
  • C. Hamate
  • D. Triquetral
  • E. Pisiform
  • F. Trapezium



Read more on its smart academic features here

Types of Bones:

Recall that bones are composed of living cells called osteocytes and non-living cells (composed mainly of minerals salts and collagen fibres).

In a previous article, we explained the classification of bones based on shape. In case you missed our explanation on bones under the above classification; please read it here.

In this article, we will continue to explain the various types of bone based on their classifications.


  • Classification of Bone based on Structure

We already know that all bones are composed of the same materials. These materials include:

  1. Osteocytes or Bone cells
    Please read on bone and bone cells here.
  2. Hydroxyapatite (Calcium phosphate)
  3. Calcium carbonate
  4. Protein and Collagen fibres

Based on how the contents of a bone is structured, we can classify them into the followings:

1. Compact Bone

A compact bone is composed of numerous bone cells together with minerals (hydroxyapatite); and as a result, only little space or cavity is present within it.

Please read on minerals, their functions and deficiencies in humans here.

Compact bone forms the hard external layer of all bones and will typically surround the medullary cavity. The medullary cavity of a bone houses the bone marrow.

The bone marrow in a compact bone is referred to as the yellow marrow.

The compact bone function to strengthen and protect the inner matrix of the bone.

Compact bone contain osteons. Also, the haversian systems are present within them.

Note: Osteons are composed of osteocytes and minerals (hydroxyapatite) connected by a canaliculi which transports blood.

You can read on arteries and its layers here.

A compact bone is also termed as a cortical bone.

The diagram below shows the compact and spongy bones:

Compact and Spongy Bone - Len Academy

2. Spongy Bone

The structure of a spongy bone is such that empty spaces or cavities are more when compared to the bony tissue. This implies that the osteocytes, hydroxyapatite and fibres are few.

A spongy bone constitutes the internal layers of bones; unlike compact bone which forms the external layers.

Present within the cavities of the spongy bone is the red bone marrow. (Please see the diagram above). The red blood cells alongside other blood cells are produced in the red bone marrow of spongy bones.
Please read more on the red blood cells here.

The tissues (group of cells) making up the spongy bone does not contain osteons, rather they are made of trabeculae. For this reason, the spongy is also termed as the trabecular bone.

When we examine the head of long bones (called epiphysis), we will observe that within it are spongy bones. Here, they function to reduce the density of the epiphysis, thus allowing for compression when such bone is stretched.

You can read on the functions of the human skeleton here.

Understand that a spongy bone can be easily broken and chewed to extract its fluid. In some parts of the world, it's fondly referred to as 'biscuit bone'.

Another name for spongy bone is cancellous bone or trabecular bone.

3. Fibrous Bone

They are found only in fetus and are composed mainly of fibres.

4. Lamellar Bone

You can read on cartilage and types of cartilage here.


  • Classification of bone based on development

We the 3 types of bones with regards to how they are developed; these are:

1. Cartilaginous Bones

Ossification of cartilaginous bone begins from the cartilage. Examples of cartilaginous bones include the bones of the upper limbs, lower limbs, rib cage.

Please read on the differences between bones and cartilages here.

The upper limb is the region of the body that extends from the arm through the fingers.


2. Membranous Bones or Dermal Bones

These bones are very likely to ossify in a fetus. (Think of a fetus or foetus as a baby still inside the mother's womb).

The process through which they ossify is termed <,u>intra-membranous ossification.

The skull and face bones are membranous bones.

Please read on the face and skull bones - with all the 206 bodily bones here.

3. Membrocartilaginous Bones

Examples are collar bone (clavicle), occipital bone and the mandible.


  • Classification of bone based on bodily region

These bones are classified based on whether they are medial (towards the midline) of the body or lateral (away from the midline of the body).

We can categorize them into 2:

1. Bones of the axial skeleton

The axial skeleton in humans is found along the midline of their body. They include the following bones:

  1. Skull
  2. Vertebral column
  3. Sternum
  4. Ribs

You can read on Cartilage and its functions here.

The diagram below shows the axial skeleton (colored in yellow) and the appendicular skeleton (colored in green):

Axial and Appendicular Skeleton - Len Academy

Note: The ribs, sternum and the thoracic vertebra form the rib cage or thoracic cage.

2. Bones of the appendicular skeleton

The appendicular skeleton is located lateral (away) from the body. They include the:

  1. Bones of the Upper Limbs: The upper limb in humans consists of the region of the arm through the fingers.

    The bones of the upper limbs include

    • Humerus
    • Ulna
    • Radius
    • Wrist Bones (or Carpal Bones)
    • Metacarpals
    • Phalanges

    You can read on the unique characteristics of man here.

  2. Bones of the Lower Limb: The lower limb in humans consists of the region from the thigh through the toe nails.

    The bones of the lower limbs include:

    • Femur
    • Tibia
    • Fibula
    • Ankle Bones (or Tarsal Bones)
    • Metatarsals
    • Phalanges

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 10 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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