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Name: ________________________________________ Block: ______ Date: ______________
Honors A&P
Chapter 6 & 7 – Skeletal and Muscular Systems Critical Thinking Questions
1) Why do you think wheelchair-bound people with paralyzed lower limbs have thin, weak
bones of the leg and thigh?
2) Mr. Posibo has had colon surgery. Now he is experiencing weakness of the muscles on his
right side only, the side in which the incision was made through the abdominal musculature.
Consequently, the abdominal muscles on his left side contract more strongly, throwing his
torso into a lateral flexion. Mr. Posibo needs physical therapy. What abnormal spinal
curvature will result if he doesn't get it, and why?
3) Mary’s grandmother slipped on a scatter rug and fell heavily to the floor. Her left lower limb
was laterally rotated and noticeably shorter than the right when she attempted to get up,
and she winced with pain. Mary surmised that her grandmother might have fractured her
hip, which later proved to be true. What bone was probably fractured and at what site?
Why is a fracture hip a common type of fracture in the elderly?
4) Diego was seriously out of shape the day he joined his friends for a game of touch football.
While he was running like crazy for the ball, his left calf began to hurt. He went to the clinic
the next day and was told he had a strain. Diego insisted that this must be wrong because
his joints did not hurt. Clearly, Diego was confusing a strain with a sprain. Explain the
5) When a murder victim was found, the coroner was unable to remove the jewelry he had
clutched in his hand. Explain the reason for this. If the victim had been discovered three
days later, would the coroner have had the same difficulty? Explain.
6) Kristin, a dedicated sprinter, knows the best way to treat and muscle or joint injury is through
RICE. Explain what this is and how each step aids in the healing process.
7) A student doing a presentation on the skull points to the foramen magnum of the skull and
says, “Food passes through this hole when you swallow.” Some students in the class nodded
their heads in agreement, others stared at her in disbelief. Who do you side with? Support
your answer with anatomical evidence.
8) Eric decided to get in shape one day and went for a jog for the first time in 3 years. When
Eric returned from jogging, he was breathing heavily, sweating profusely, and complained
that his legs ached and felt weak. He had difficulty catching his breath. Based on what you
know about energy metabolism, explain why Eric is breathing so heavily and what could be
causing his muscle soreness.
9) What is the reason that the muscle group on the posterior side of the lower leg is so much
larger than the muscle group on the anterior side of the lower leg?
10) Why do elderly persons often develop bowed backs and appear shorter than they were in
earlier years? How can this be prevented and sometimes reversed in elderly men and
postmenopausal women?
11) Sherry is a pregnant teenager. her diet before she was pregnant consisted mostly of junk
food and that hasn't changed since she became pregnant. Approximately 8-10 seeks into
her pregnancy, she falls and breaks her arm. She doesn't understand why the bone broke,
because it wasn't a hard fall. Test results determine that a significant amount of bone
demineralization is occurring. Explain what is happening to Sherry.
12) Curare is a toxin used by native Amazonians to help them catch prey. Curare will block
acetylcholine receptors within skeletal muscle. What is the function of acetylcholine within
skeletal muscle? Why could curare be used to treat chronic and problematic skeletal
muscle twitching in humans? What would be the best way to administer curare to the
patient with problematic muscle twitching: intramuscularly, IV, or orally? Why?
13) A 75-year old woman and her nine year old granddaughter were in a train crash in which
both sustained trauma to the chest while seated next to each other X-rays showed that the
grandmother had severely fractured ribs, while her granddaughter had none. Explain these
surprisingly different findings.
14) X-rays are usually used to determine if someone has reached their full adult height. What is
the radiologist looking for?
15) What are two “benefits” of fontanelles in the newborn skull?
16) The bony thorax doesn’t provide nearly as much protection for the heart as the cranium
does for the brain. However, its more open structure is advantageous. Explain why.
17) Hip and shoulder joints are very similar. However, the acetabulum of the ilium is much
deeper than the glenoid of the scapula. How is the structure of these joints directly related
to their function?
18) Provide an example of how each type of muscle tissue produces movement.