Welcome to Five Fun Facts, a curated list of orthopedic-related trivia (although sometimes we stray a little off-topic), published monthly.
Our fascination with the human skeleton dates back to ancient times, where it carried special significance in the arts, religions, and popular culture. But very little was known back then about the skeleton other than its association with mortality. In modern times, a skeleton still elicits feelings of fearfulness and foreboding, but what makes it truly fascinating is what we’ve learned from an anatomical perspective. Case in point:
1. Adults have 60 fewer bones than newborns — Mainly because adults tend to lose body parts. Just kidding! Actually, some of our bones fuse together during childhood.
2. Your bones are aliiiiiiiiive — Bones may seem dry and hard but they’re actually made of living tissue and are constantly growing and regenerating.
3. You get a completely new skeleton every 10 years — Not all at once (thank goodness), but gradually, through a process called remodeling.
4. Humans have the same number of neck bones as giraffes — Humans and giraffes both have seven cervical spine vertebrae. In fact, nearly all mammals have seven vertebrae. The only exceptions are sloths and manatees.
5. Your bones produce 2 million red blood cells every second — Bone marrow, the spongy substance found in the center of your bones, stays very busy producing blood cells. Which works out perfectly, because about 2 million of your blood cells also die every second.