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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.


    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.

    5. Adults have 206 bones in their body. Babies are born with:

    a. 206 bones

    b. 150 bones

    c. 300 bones

    d. 185 bones

    Answer: c. Babies are born with about 300 bones, almost a third of which eventually fuse together to form the 206-bone skeleton of an adult. Further, some of the "bones" in a baby's body are not really bone at all, but instead cartilage, a soft and flexible material that eventually grows into a bone. Calcium and other nutrients are what help baby's bones fuse and grow into a strong skeletal structure.

    6. Which type of bone break most often leads to death in people over 65?

    a. Skull fracture

    b. Spine fracture

    c. Hip fracture

    d. Collarbone fracture

    Answer: c. When it comes to deaths from injuries in senior citizens, data from the CDC tell us that falls are one of the leading causes, with hip fractures the No. 1 cause of fall-related deaths. Moreover, hip fractures are the cause of the most severe health problems in this age group, and they're also responsible for a dramatic reduction in quality of life. About 80% of hip fractures occur in women, with the rate increasing dramatically between ages 65 and 85. According to the CDC, by age 90, one in three women will sustain a hip fracture.

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