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How Much Do You Know About Bones?

Are you a bone whiz or a bonehead? Take a bone quiz to find out.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

If your experience with bones is pretty much limited to putting on that skeleton costume every Halloween, then you could be cheating yourself out of important preventive care.

Take this quiz to find out how much you know about bone health, and learn a bit about what you can do to protect your skeleton from head to toe!

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1. The largest bone in the human body is:

a. Skull

b. Spine

c. Femur (thigh bone)

d. Tibia (shin bone)

Answer: c. Your femur (thigh bone) is not only the largest bone, but also the strongest one, bearing much of the weight of your body. The lower end of the femur joins to the tibia in a joint that forms your knee. The upper end is rounded into a ball that fits into a "socket" located in your pelvis to form your hip joint. The smallest bone in the body is in the ear and is only 1/8 inch long.

2. The term "long bones" is used to describe:

a. Very tall people

b. Women with very long legs

c. Bones that offer structure and mobility

d. Any fully grown bone

Answer: c. "Long bones" is the term used to describe any hard, dense bone that also provides strength, structure, and mobility, such as the femur.

3. The difference between a "broken" bone and a "fractured" bone is:

a. Severity

b. Location

c. Complications

d. No difference

Answer: d. "Break" and "fracture" are interchangeable terms that mean the same thing: The bone is broken. There are, however, different types of bone breaks. A complete break is said to occur when a bone breaks into two or more pieces; an incomplete break means the bone does not break all the way through; a compound fracture(also called an "open" fracture) occurs when a bone breaks through the skin; a simple fracture (or "closed" fracture) occurs when the bone breaks but there is no break in the skin. In children, the most common type of bone break is a greenstick fracture, a type of incomplete break that causes the bone to be bent.

4. When a forensic expert examines a skeleton, they can tell:

a. Age

b. Gender

c. Certain causes of death

d. All of the above

Answer: d. All of the above. Age is determined by looking at the level of bone decay, as well as looking for evidence of a process called "ossification," a fusing of bones that occurs at some 800 points in the body at various ages. Discovering which bones are fused can help pinpoint the age at the time of death. The skull and the hip bones are used to determine the gender of a skeleton, with men's hips generally narrower than women's, and a man's skull having a more pronounced bony protrusion in the forehead area than that of a woman. Women also frequently have smaller rib cages. Often, evidence of a violent death can be seen in the bones. This would include bullet holes, injury with a sharp weapon, and bone breaks. Bone disease leading to death can also be detected.

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