This skeleton is found inside the body and can consist of bone (all vertebrates except sharks) or cartilage (sharks) and some endoskeletons consist of both.
Advantages of the endoskeleton
- Living: Endoskeletons consist of living tissue, so it is able to grow steadily within the animal enabling some to reach a large size.
- Structure and support: The endoskeleton provides shape and structural support.
- Structural diversity and adaptation: The bones can vary in size and shape to support the animal’s mass.
- Flexible: The endoskeleton is jointed which allows for flexible movement and support.
- Muscle attachment: The muscles attach directly to the skeletal bones to allow for movement and support.
- Protection: The endoskeleton protects the vital organs such as the heart and lungs which are protected by the ribcage.
- Diversified locomotion: The development of an endoskeleton has allowed for animals to become successfully adapted to locomotion in the environment in which they live. Vertebrates (organisms with a vertebral column and an endoskeleton) have become adapted to move in a number of different modes of locomotion, e.g. running, jumping, swimming, and flying.
Disadvantages of the endoskeleton
- Vulnerable to external environment: The endoskeleton does not offer the animal any protection from the exterior, be it a physical attack or changes in environmental conditions. The animal is therefore very vulnerable.
- Susceptible to disease: The skeleton consists of living tissue so is susceptible to infections and disease.