Axial vs Appendicular Skeleton – Difference and Comparison

What is Axial Skeleton?

The axial skeleton refers to the part of the skeleton that is made up of the vertebrate’s head and the trunk bones make up the axial skeleton.

The whole human skeleton is made up of the axial and appendicular skeletons. The vertebrae, sacrum, coccyx, skull, ribs, and sternum are among the bones that make up the axial skeleton.

The 80 bones that make up your axial skeleton are located in the body’s center. This comprises the cranial and facial bones in your skull, as well as the bones in your ears, neck, back, and ribcage (sternum and ribs). Your axial skeleton safeguards your heart, lungs, brain, spinal cord, and other vital organs.

Your axial skeleton supports and insulates your brain, spinal cord, and internal organs. Your axial skeleton is also where your body’s muscles that move your head, neck, and trunk are attached. These muscles support your appendicular bone and aid in breathing.

Keep up a healthy lifestyle for the greatest care of your axial skeleton. To maintain a strong, healthy bone structure:

  1. Exercise
  2. Get enough sleep.
  3. Avoid smoking

What is Appendicular Skeleton?

The appendicular skeleton aids in performing daily tasks and keeps the human body in motion. The bones of the upper and lower limbs, the pectoral girdle, the pelvic girdle, and the lower limbs (which aid in motion) make up this section of the skeleton system.

Functions of Appendicular Skeleton

Pectoral Girdle

  1. The higher limbs are anchored and supported by it.
  2. It acts as a crucial point of attachment for several muscles that support arm movement.

Groin  Girdle

  1. It supports and safeguards the abdominal cavity’s delicate essential organs.
  2. It shifts the upper axial skeleton’s weight to the lower appendicular sections, particularly while the body is moving.
  3. It offers the lower limbs a point of attachment.

Upper Limbs

  1. It facilitates the use of the hands for a variety of tasks.
  2. It enables the shoulder to carry out a variety of actions.

The Lower Limbs

They sustain the complete body’s structure whether walking, jumping, or sprinting since they are weight-bearing bones.

Upper Limb

Parts of Appendicular Skeleton

Shoulder girdle: Clavicle, Scapula

Arm: Humerus

Forearm: Radius, Ulna

Wrist or carpal bones: Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrum

Pelvic girdle (hip or coxal bone: Ilium, Ischium, Pubis


Difference Between Axial and Appendicular Skeleton

  1. The axial skeleton consists of the bones of the head and torso, whereas the appendicular skeleton consists of the limb bones, pelvis, and shoulder girdle.
  2. The axial skeleton has fewer bones than the appendicular skeleton.
  3. There are over 128 bones in the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton consists of 74 bones and six ossicles.
  4. The axial skeleton is the central axis of the human skeleton, whereas the appendicular skeleton is made up of appendages that are connected to the axial skeleton.
  5. The axial skeleton maintains the upright position and protects the internal organs, while the appendicular skeleton aids in body movement.

Comparison Between Axial and Appendicular Skeleton

Parameters of ComparisonAxial SkeletonAppendicular Skeleton
Number of Bones80128
FunctionProtects internal organsAid movement
BonesIncludes the bones of the head  Includes the limb bones, pelvis and shoulder girdle.
LocationIt is the central axis of the human skeleton  Consists of appendages connected to the axial skeleton.
SizeLesser bones than the appendicular skeletonMore bones than the axial skeleton