Number of Bones in Human Body Male vs Female

Do Men and Women have a Different number of Bones? Why do Men have Stronger Bones than Females? What is Bone Mass? What are the Risks of Bone Diseases?
number of bones in human body male vs female

Bones known as osseous tissue are a very important part of the human body. They give shape, structure, and support to the body. But do the number of bones in human body male vs female differ? At the time of birth, there are more than 206 bones in the human body, like around 300. When you have 300 bones at birth, then still you were taught that you have 206-213 bones. How confusing! So the fact is when you are born there are several cartilages still in the process of becoming bones. They are soft flexible and slowly as the baby grows, they start getting hard. Many small cartilages fuse to form one bone. Hence, as we age the number of bones decreases from 300 to 206. Let’s start with this article and read about the types of bones and also how is the number of bones in human body male vs female different.

1. What are the Functions of Bones?

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  • The total set of bones and cartilages make up the skeletal system of a body. Bones are dense connective tissues. Protection, support, and movement are the basic and critical functions performed by bones.
  • Bones provide support to the body and facilitate movement. The bones being attached to the muscles provide support for the movement. Various joints in the skeletal system enable turning and ease in doing different tasks like bending, turning, picking up things, holding things, etc.
  • It produces red blood cells (RBCs), minerals and fats are stored and released by them.
  • The most important function of bone is to protect internal organs. The brain is protected by a (cranium) skull whereas the heart and lungs are protected by the ribcage. Crucial and delicate spinal nerves also termed sensory and motor nerves are protected within the vertebrae’s column of the spinal cord. The number of bones in human body male vs female also does not affect the types of functions performed by their bones. (See How many bones in the human body?)

2. How Number of Bones in Human Body Male vs Female Differ?

  • There is one difference between the skeletons of the two genders, their pelvic bones. 
  • But there are several other differences in the structure and densities of the bones of males and females. 
  • The number of bones in human body male vs female differences may also involve a difference in the size of the femur (thigh bone), elbows, joints, fingers shoulders, and tibia (leg bone between knee and ankle).
  • The males have much stronger and bigger bones as compared to females. Their bone density is approx. 50% more than that of females. Also, the skull and limbs of men are longer and bigger in comparison to women. Females have less bone density. They lose their bone strength much faster as they age rather than men. (Also read What Causes Funny Bone Pain?)

3. What is The Myth of Ribs?

No matter how many diverse stories you have heard. But scientifically it is proven that both males and females have 24 ribs, with 12 on each side. However, in some rare cases or under some circumstances a person may have 11 or 13 ribs. It may be because of the underdevelopment of the fetus or due to natural causes it can happen. (See 90 Mind Blowing Human Body Facts)

4. How is Bone Mass Measured?

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The difference in bone mass between the two genders may be altered by genetics. As you know females have a lower density of bone than men. The number of bones in human body male vs female surely has no effects on improving or degrading the bone density and bone mass. The density of bone and calcium level on bones can be measured through a Bone Matrix Density (BMD) test.

This can be improved by various other factors like a healthy, nutritious, and balanced diet, regular exercise. Consuming calcium and vitamin D through natural sources improves bone mass and makes them stronger. This fact applies to both genders, not just females. As you know some boys or men are also very fragile in matters of bones and strength and generally, boys tend to have more fractures than girls during their growing years. This may happen because of their physical activities like playing heavy games such as soccer, basketball, etc. (Also read How Does an X ray Machine Work?)

5. What are the Types of Bones?

Depending upon their sizes the bones can be categorized into four categories, long, short, flat, and irregular. 

  • The bones having a thin shape and long size come in the category of long bones. For example, the thigh bone (femur), the arm bone (humerus), etc.
  • The bones in cube shape or the ones that are more sturdy than others fall in the short bone category. For example, bones make the ankle and wrists.
  • Bones that differ in shape from one another, but are part of one bone, are known as irregular bones. For example, the bones of the spinal cord, that is each vertebra of the vertebrate column.
  • Bones having flat and broad surfaces are known as flat bones. Bones in the skull(cranium), breast bone (sternum), shoulder blade (scapula), and ribs. (See What Is the Funny Bone Nerve?)

6. What are the Parts of a Skeleton?

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The entire skeleton system is comprised of two parts, the axial and appendicular skeleton.

The axial skeleton comprises 80 bones containing the spinal cord, chest, and head.

  • There are 26 bones (vertebrates) in the spinal cord of adults while the kids have 34 bones in the spine, irrespective of their genders.
  • There are 25 bones in the chest, that is 1 sternum (breast bone) and 24 ribs. Some men may have an extra set of ribs known as cervical ribs.
  • The head consists of 29 bones. The hyoid bone (small U-shaped (horseshoe-shaped) solitary bone, situated in the midline of the neck) and bones of the middle ear made 3 bones on each side along with 8 bones in the skull and 15 facial bones. (Also read What are the characteristics of an ectomorph body?)

A total of 126 bones consists of an appendicular skeleton. Including shoulders, pelvic girdles, arms, and legs. There are 32 bones in each arm, a total of 64 bones.

  • In the upper arm, there is 1 humerus, 1 scapula (shoulder blade), and 1 collar bone (clavicle). Both sides combined make them 6 bones.
  • In each lower arm, there is 1 radius and 1 ulna. In total 4 combine on both sides.
  • Each hand has 27 bones and they have 54 bones combined.
  • The pelvic girdles (hip bone) have three regions. They form 2 coxal bones after fusing.
  • The legs have in total of 60 bones, 30 in each leg. The femur, patella (knee cap), tibia, fibula are present singularly in each leg.
  • The feet have in total 52 bones, each foot comprising 26 bones. These bones include fingers, ankles, etc. (Also read What Is the Strongest Muscle in Your Body?)

8. What are the Risks of Bone Diseases?

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As humans advance towards old age, their bones start losing their density, strength, and hence they are at risk of bone diseases. Women are more at risk of bone diseases than men.

  • Generally, women develop inflammatory arthritis between the age of 30-50 years. It is more common in women because of certain factors like how their body and mind respond to certain situations like stress, responsibilities, vaccinations, environmental changes, and infections. The number of bones in human body male vs female is not directly or indirectly related to the development of bone diseases. (See How does it feel to break a bone?)
  • Malfunctioning of the immune system happens because of high estrogen levels. This confuses the immune system and it attacks itself, and this is known as autoimmunity. Inflammatory arthritis can affect men also.
  • Other bone diseases that develop in women with age are osteoporosis, osteopenia, and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is more common as well as severe in older women as compared to older men. They develop this risk of OA after their menopause. Also, their biomechanics and hormones can be the reason. Osteoporosis in women occurs because of a deficiency of estrogen.

Now, irrespective of all the myths about the number of bones in human body male vs female going on around for ages, you must know that on average there are 206 bones in the human body respectively. (Also read 15 Pressure Points To Relieve Body Discomforts)

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