(Sample Material) IAS PRE GS Online Coaching : General Science - "Muscular and Skeletal System"


Sample Material of Our Online Coaching Programme

Subject: General Science

Topic: Muscular and Skeletal System


The single-celled protozoan ancestors of animals had their weight supported by water and were able to move by cilia or other simple organelles. The evolution of large and more complex organisms (animals) necessitated the development of support and locomotion systems. Animals use their muscular and skeletal systems for support, locomotion, and maintaining their shape.


(i) Movement is a major characteristic of animals. This movement is a result of contraction of muscles. The skeleton helps transmit that movement. Skeletons are either a fluid-filled body cavity, exoskeletons, or internal skeletons.
(ii) Hydrostatic skeletons consist of fluid-filled closed chambers. Internal pressures generated by muscle contractions cause movement as well as maintain the shape of the animals, such as the sea anemone and worms. The sea anemone has one set of longitudinal muscles in the outer layer of the body, and a layer of circular muscles in the inner layer of the body. The anemone can elongate or contract its body by contracting one or the other set of muscles.
(iii) Exoskeletons are characteristic of the Phylum Arthropoda. Exoskeletons are hard segments that cover the muscles and visceral organs. Muscles for movement attach to the inner surface of the exoskeleton Exoskeletons restrict the growth of the animal, thus it must shed its exoskeleton (or molt) to form a new one that has room for growth. The bulk and weight of the exoskeleton and associated mechanical problems limits the size a animals can attain.

Note : Spiders use a combination of an exoskeleton for protection and fluid pressure for movement. Vertebrates have developed an internal mineralized (in most cases) endoskeleton composed of bone and/or cartilage. Muscles are on the outside of the endoskeleton.

Cartilage and bone are types of connective tissue.

  • Sharks, and rays have skeletons composed entirely of cartilage; other vertebrates have an embryonic cartilage skeleton progressively replaced by bone as they mature and develop.
  • Some areas of the human body, however, retain cartilage in the adult: in joints and flexible structures such as the ribs, trachea, nose and ears.


  • The skeleton and muscles function together as the musculoskeletal system. This system (often treated as two separate systems, the muscular, and skeletal) plays an important homeostatic role: allowing the animal to move to more favorable external conditions.
  • Certain cells in the bones produce immune cells as well as important cellular components of the blood.
  • Bone also helps regulate blood calcium levels, serving as a calcium sink. Rapid muscular contraction is important in generating internal heat, another homeostatic function.