How Many Bones Are There In The Human Body?

By Victoria Simpson on April 29 2020 in Science

Bones store essential minerals like calcium and phosphorous. Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
Bones store essential minerals like calcium and phosphorous. Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
  • You are born with more bones in your body than an adult.
  • Some bones fuse as you grow.
  • Babies have soft skull bones in order to compress and fit through the birth canal.

Your body is an amazing work of nature. A full-grown adult body has a total of about 206 bones, all of which are needed to help you move, and protect your organs. 

You use your skeleton in combination with your muscles to jump, run, walk, dance, and roll. Without it, you would be a gelatinous mass oozing from your seat to the floor.  

Your bones are also storehouses for calcium and phosphorous - two much-needed minerals in your body. Your bones are important for producing bone marrow, something which provides you with the necessary ingredients for both red and white blood cell production, as well as the formation of platelets in your body. Here are some more interesting things to know about that incredible structure holding you together. 

Your Skeleton in History

Knowledge of the human skeleton goes back pretty far in history. It is apparent in ancient India, ancient Greece, and ancient Egypt, among other times and places. 

Sushruta, a person born in 600 BC India, wrote an impressively large text called theSuśruta-saṃhita, which dealt with human health, surgery, medicinal treatments, and early dentistry. In Greece, Herophilos is said to have dissected human corpses for study. He did this in Alexandria. Ancient Egyptians are also well known for taking the human body apart to some degree during mummification. 

When it comes to modern medicine, 16th-century Flemish physician Andreas Vesalius is now regarded as the founder of modern anatomy in the west. Vesalius wrote De humani corporis fabrica, which is a set of books published in 1543 that contain detailed illustrations of the human body and skeleton. These books were some of the most influential books on the human body at the time. 

Bones Children Have that Adults Do Not

Babies have more bones than adults because they are born with many unfused bones. Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

It may seem like a weird fact, but it is true: when you are born, you have about 270 to 300 bones in your body, but as an adult, this number goes down. You only have about 206 bones once you reach adulthood. Where do they go? The extra bones do not slip out in the nighttime somehow and walk away. They stay put, but they are fused with other bones as you grow, reducing the total number of bones you have.

Why do we have more bones the younger we are? Human babies are born with many unfused bones. The bones in the skull are not fused together because the mother’s pelvis is actually quite small. When a baby is born, their skull needs to be able to squish down a bit to fit through the birth canal. These bones later grow together to form a hard skull with fewer total bones. 

Babies also have unfused bones in their legs and arms. This is to protect them from breaking their bones as they learn to crawl and walk, all while falling down frequently. Finally, the kneecaps of babies are actually mostly cartilage at birth. Young children do not fully form proper bone kneecaps until they turn about three years old. 

Smallest and Biggest Bones

The smallest bone in your body is found in your middle ear and is called the stape. It is part of a three bone system that helps you hear. The largest bone in your body is your femur, which is found in your thigh. 

Bones That are Easiest to Break

Healthy bones stay intact, but you can break them. Which bones are the easiest to break? According to, your collar bone, your leg and arm bones, as well as your hip and wrist bones are some of the easiest bones to break in your body. Get your exercise and your calcium and you should stay protected.

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