Skeletal System

Bone Basics

How do bones grow?

Bones form and develop through a process called ossification. There are two types of ossification: intramembranous ossification and endochondral ossification. Intramembranous ossification is the formation of bone directly on or within the fibrous connective tissue. Examples of bone formed through intramembranous ossification are the flat bones of the skull, mandible (lower jaw), and clavicle (collarbone).

Endochondral ossification, from the Greek endo, meaning “within,” and khondros, meaning “cartilage,” is the transformation of the cartilage model into bone. Cartilage cells in the epiphyseal plate grow and move into the metaphysis where they are reabsorbed and replaced by bone tissue. Examples of bone formed through endochondral ossification are the long bones, such as the femur and humerus.


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