Preamble to Our Appendicular Skeleton

Our axial skeleton on its own is only half the skeleton story, though perhaps if it was our only skeleton, we would be substantially different beings. We need our appendicular skeleton to move us and to manipulate objects in our environment. Hmm, rereading those two sentences makes me realize that I am not quite accurate. Well, I am accurate if referring purely to our ability to mobilize ourselves using our own bodies. However, there are any number of people who do not have use of some or all of their limbs. In many cases they have mobility due to wheelchairs, and their ability to manipulate objects is determined by which limbs they can still control.

Perhaps you are familiar with the artist Chuck Close? I first learned about Chuck Close back in the 1990s because his name appeared on a list of famous people who have dyslexia. Close paints, often on huge canvases, using an assortment of devices that assist his arms. When he began painting, he was able to use his entire body in the process. In 1988 his spinal artery collapsed, leaving him paralyzed in his legs and arms. Over time he regained some ability for movement in his arms, and refined his technique via brushes strapped to his wrists. Other folks who have some form of paralysis have nourished the use of their toes, feet, or mouth.

In doing a search for “quadriplegic” I found a number of sites created by people who, for the most part, became paralyzed due to automobile accidents that caused injury to their spinal cords.


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