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Chapter 4: What’s Inside: Anatomy and Physiology

The Skeletal System Functions: (1) Supports and protects the soft structures of the body (2) Provides for the attachments of muscles that move the skeleton (3) Serves as a storehouse for calcium, phosphorus, and other elements Osteoid = Bone matrix Continued use of a muscle can result in the formation of a bump or process on the bone where the muscle attaches. This is because when a muscle contracts and pulls on a bone, it activates deposition of calcium within the matrix of the bone, especially at the muscle attachment. When a bird is forming an egg prior to egg laying, calcium is taken from the bones, transported by the blood, and deposited as shell on the egg in the uterus. Two general features were acquired by the skeleton of birds during the evolution of flight: rigidity and lightness. Rigidity: result of various fusions of neighboring bones, particularly parts of the vertebral column Disadvantage: stiff-backed; Advantage: long and highly moveable necks  Strengthens the skeleton for the stressful actions of flying and landing as well as running and jumping. Fusion of the skull bones allows the use of the beak as a lever/hammer and chisel. Lightness: comes from cavities or spaces that develop within all bones; these spaces connect to the respiratory system and thus contain air = pneumatic  Bones are lighter than weight than similar-sized bones Large and efficient flyers (albatross) = large amount of pneumatization Deep diving birds (use as ballast), swift flying birds (aerodynamic), air to water diving birds, hammering birds (need strong skulls) = lesser amount of pneumatization In a growing bird embryo, the initial skeleton entirely of cartilage ossifies very rapidly around the time of hatching and continues ossifying at a slower rate throughout life. Ossification can also occur directly from tissues without a cartilage stage. This is seen in tendons of hind-limb muscles in most birds.

and the term “cervicodorsal” vertebrae may be used. Entoglossal = tongue bone. the skull is composed of a single layer of cartilage and bone. pectoral girdle with wings. and pelvic girdle with legs). either directly or by a ligament. the occipital condyle. Synsacrum = fusion of a variable # of thoracic vertebrae with all of the lumbar. and has a hole in which the dens of the axis fits. . If the rib articulates with the sternum. however. As the bird ages. or otic region. The cranium incorporates the ear. Vertebral Column Most bird have 14 or 15 cervical vertebrae = allows a marked suppleness of the neck and turning ability of the head. The mandible of the bird consists of right and left parts (dentary bones) fused at the tip of the beak. sacral. and first few caudal vertebrae. When cervical vertebrae bear moveable ribs. and fused on either side of the ilium bones on the pelvis. they are difficult to distinguish from thoracic vertebrae. Axial Skeleton: Skull: The presence of visible sutures is an indication that the skull in question is that of a very young bird. The horn of the hyoid is composed of two bones that extend backward beneath the skull and then curve around the back of the head. a second layer develops under the first. The apical region of the upper jaw is formed by right and left premaxillary bones. Allows for the attachment of strong tail muscles. The lower jaw articulates with the moveable quadrate bone – allows the mouth to open widely and allows the lower jaw to be protruded while the upper jaw is raised by extreme extension at the craniofacial hinge (cranial kinesis). In newly-fledged passerines. compensating for the rigidity of the back. it is considered to be a thoracic vertebrae.The skeleton is divided into an axial skeleton (vertebral column and skull) and an appendicular skeleton (sternum. Hyoid Apparatus The hyoid apparatus = series of articulated bones that support the tongue and its associated muscles. The atlas has a prominent protrusion. Most birds can turn their heads 180 degrees in either direction = heterocoelous centrum ends.

Appendicular skeleton: Pectoral girdle Formed by (1) clavicle (2) coracoid and (3) scapula. Sternum The sternum has a midventral keel/carina to which the pectoral breast muscles attach. In nearly all birds. Birds that lack a keel are ratites. The coracoids are the stoutest and strongest bones of the pectoral girdle. Wing claws. the lower segment or sterna rib articulates with the sternum. Wing Claws = Claws are associated with digits. but they are not digits. with phalanges embedded and concealed in continuous skin covering Wing Spurs vs. They function as a powerful brace holding the shoulder joint away from the body while the pectoral muscles are pulling oppositely on the wing during flight. the foramen triosseum. They are used in aggressive display and fighting. some birds have lost the clavicle (parrot) because it limits shoulder rotation.Pygostyle = terminal bone of the tail formed by several fused vertebrae. can be used to allow juveniles to climb back to their nest. However. on wing digits. . This hinged arrangement allows the thorax to be expanded and compressed for breathing. Wing spurs are bony outgrowths from the carpometacarpus. The uncinate process projects caudally from the vertebral segment of the rib. Bones of the wing All flying birds have the same arrangement and number of wing bones. A general term for birds with a keel is carinates. whereas spurs can be located anywhere on the skeleton. and helps to strengthen the rib cage. which is used with balance. Provides attachment for the flight feathers of the tail. overlaps the rib behind it. the right and left clavicles are fused with a small bone in order to form the V-shaped furcula. serves as part of the pulley system allowing the downward force of the contracting supracoracoid muscle to be redirected to an upwards pull on the wing. The supracoracoid muscle raises the wing and the opening. The oil gland rests on top of the pygostyle. The ribs form a thoracic cage. The upper or vertebral rib articulates with a thoracic vertebra. 3 fingers.

muscles are the furnaces of the body.The relative size of the keel is directly correlated with the development of the pectoralis muscle. and the heat they produce is distributed by the blood moving through the circulatory system. The pelvis is open below because the right and left Ischia and pubes do not meet. and the small head of the femur fits deeply into the hip joint’s socket or acetabulum. third. which provides power for the downward wing stroke. The Muscular System Skeletal Muscle When muscles contract they produce both movement and heat (more heat than work). This open pelvis facilitates the laying of eggs. and fourth metatarsals. Leg spurs have developed as weapons in male chickens and other pheasantlike birds and grow from a spur papilla of the skin that stimulates bone development. Hallux = Toe #1. The tibiotarsus is the bird’s longest leg bone. therefore. ^ relative size of keel = ^ development of the pectoralis muscle = ^ flying ability Pelvic Girdle Three bones: (1) ilium (2) ischium and (3) pubis The right and left ilia are fused to a series of fused vertebrae (synsacrum). Each toe has one more phalanx than its ordinal number. Bones of the Hind Limb The femur is relatively short. The tarsometatarsus represents the fusion of the second. . It is composed of the tibia fused with the proximal tarsal bones.