The bare bones

Bone up on these in­cred­i­ble skele­ton facts

World of Animals - - What’s Inside... -

bone up on some in­cred­i­ble skele­ton facts

A short spine helps frogs to cope with the im­pact of land­ing. The tho­racic ribs fold away against the body when the lizard has landed. The fly­ing lizard’s back legs are flat­tened, in­creas­ing stream­lin­ing and lift.

The mem­bers of the genus Draco are called fly­ing lizards, or dragons, be­cause of their abil­ity to glide. These In­dian and south­east Asian lizards are ar­bo­real, and their unique mode of lo­co­mo­tion al­lows them to travel up to ten me­tres (38.2 feet) be­tween trees with­out ever touch­ing the floor. Elon­gated ribs sup­port large wing-like mem­branes on the sides of the body to gen­er­ate lift when the rep­tiles leap from branches.

A sea­horse’s square tail grips and re­sists crush­ing bet­ter than the usual cylin­dri­cal shape. Snake or­gans are long and thin to fit within the nar­row space. The bony plates are ar­ranged in rings – each species has a dif­fer­ent num­ber.

A snake is es­sen­tially a head with a back­bone. some species have tiny rem­nants of a pelvis or limbs, but the skele­tons of these rep­tiles mainly con­sist of the skull, spine and hun­dreds of pairs of ribs. While our skull is rigid and has only one joint, the skull of a snake is made up of mul­ti­ple parts with sev­eral joints. Many of the bones are only con­nected with lig­a­ments, al­low­ing the head to stretch over prey much big­ger than the snake. Un­like other fish, sea­horses have ex­oskele­tons made up of bony plates fused to­gether. Cov­ered with a layer of tis­sue, this plat­ing can keep the tiny, slow-mov­ing fish and its vi­tal or­gans safe from the bites of preda­tors. Even with all the stiff ar­mour, a sea­horse is able to curl its tail and grab hold of veg­e­ta­tion and mates to stop it­self from drift­ing away. At the other end of the body, the neck is un­usu­ally well de­fined and flex­i­ble.

Ribs are ei­ther very small or com­pletely ab­sent in frogs. Frogs lack necks, so they can’t turn their heads.

A frog’s skele­ton is all about jump­ing; long bones in the back legs give their leap its length, and large hip bones sup­port the pow­er­ful mus­cles launch­ing the body for­wards. The elon­gated limbs can be folded neatly against the body when not in use thanks to an ex­tra joint in the an­kle. While the back half of a frog is all about move­ment, it can’t turn its head due to its lack of neck.

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