Why are there two positions in anatomy the axial and appendicular.

Expert Answers
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The axial skeleton is the skull, spinal column and rib cage.  The appendicular skeleton consists of the bones of the arms and legs, as well as the pelvis and shoulder bones (limb girdles).

The entire adult skeleton consists of 206 bones.  Like everything else in science, the two major groupings of these bones is done for the basic purpose of organization.  Logically, these two groups have two generally different functions.  The axial skeleton is all connected and part of the spine and serves as the protection of the two most important organs (the brain, heart and lungs), while the appendicular skeleton is basically everything else and its primary purpose is movement.  Even within these two large groups, the bones are further organized into even smaller groupings.

To answer your question very generally, it is the same thing as the ordering of species by kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.  Science is very well organized.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you are referring to the divisions of the skeleton. The axial skeleton is the skull (cranium), face, upper and lower jaw, neck (cervical) area, sternum (breastbone), the rib cage, the spine or vertebral column, sacrum, and coccyx.

The appendicular skeletal system is everything else. This includes the clavicles (collar bones), the bones of the arms , humerus, radius, ulna. (upper extremities), the bones of the wrist (carpals), and bones of the hands. the coxal (hip) bones, the bones of the thigh (femur), the kneecaps (patella), the bones of the lower legs (lower extremities), tibia and fibula, and the bones of the ankles (tarsals), and feet.

Try to remember that the axial skeleton is more medial and the appendicular skeleton is more lateral.