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Bone Growth

It doesn’t take much for us to dive into the history of a word.

This video clip of Jon Zahourek poking around in the medullary cavity of a (clay) bone, sent us scurrying to check the word medulla.

The word came to us from Latin where it means, literally, marrow. In more basic terms, medulla simply means “the middle of something.”

Not surprising! For instance, medulla oblongata. (Your brain stem.)

But we’re veering off course here.


As Jon demonstrates, the inside of the bone is critical to bone growth. Jon calls it “remodeling by destroying.” Or a case of extreme makeover!

Babies are born with 300 bones. As adults, we have 206. Those baby bones are soft cartilage that transforms through the bone growth process—calcium playing a key role (with phosphate salts) accumulating on cartilage cells.

We won’t get too technical with the transformation here. Osteoblasts, cancellous bone, osteocytes, and all of that. The bottom line is that the bone itself would be nowhere without the capabilities of its own inner self.

But check this: the word marrow is from Middle English meaning fellow worker or partner. Or, from the Old Norse, perhaps friend.

Yep. Very close friends.

Yes, Jon. “Is cool.”

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