What is the Articular System? (Animal Syndesmology)

Articulations of the animal’s skeleton are these structures that unite the bones and permit different movements. Here, you will get the answer to the question – what is the articular system in animals?

Quick answer: the animal articular system studies the joints and their associated structures. It deals with the fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial joints of different animal body parts.

This guide will teach you the anatomical features of the different animal joints. I will enlist articles that might help you learn the animal articular system perfectly.

What is the articular system?

The animal articular system consists of the following –

  • Structure of the animal joints,
  • Study of the binding materials (ligaments, tendons, and also muscles),
  • Type of the different joints of the animal body (fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial), and
  • Type of the various movements of the animal’s joints,

You might know different terms before starting to learn the animal articular system. Let’s see the following terms that related to the animal articular system –

  • Animal syndesmology or arthrology,
  • Animal joint or articulation, and
  • Terms related to the movements of the animal joints,

What is animal syndesmology or arthrology?

Animal syndesmology or arthrology is the study of articulating two or more bones. Not all the articulation of the animal body is mobile. Some joints allow very slight or no movement under certain circumstances.

Definition of animal articulation: it is the junction or union of two or more articular extremities of the bones or cartilage. Binding materials like fibrous tissue, cartilage, and ligaments unite them.

Finally, these articulations or joints of the animal body are responsible for various movements.

What are the Joints of the Animal Articular System
What are the Joints of the Animal Articular System

“Let’s find the detailed guides on the different topics of the animal articular system in Tables.”

Learning objectives of the animal articular system

So, the learning objectives of the animal articular system are –

  • Define and explain the significant terms related to animal arthrology,
  • Classification of the animal joints based on functions and structures,
  • Explain the different movements of the animal’s joints,
  • Description of the fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial articulation in animals,
  • Understand and identify the axial joints from the animal skeleton and
  • Explain and identify the appendicular joints (fore and hindlimb joints) from the animal skeleton,

Animal articular system anatomy – topics and guides

Table 1 shows the list of articles that might be helpful for you to learn about the animal articular system. I tried to cover a single topic from animal syndesmology. But, I would like to recommend you to find other topics from anatomy learners.

Articular systemComplete Guides on the Animal Articular System
All joints of the bodyAnimal joint anatomy – the name of the joints and bony involvements
Types of the jointsTypes of the joints in the animal with examples and diagrams
Synovial joint structureSynovial joint anatomy in the animal – definition, type, and structure
Ligament structureLigamentum nuchae of the ox – part of the supraspinous ligament
Animal leg jointsDog leg anatomy with the labeled diagram – bones, joints, muscles, and vessels
Cow leg anatomy – bones, muscles, joints, and vessels from fore and hind limbs
Cat leg anatomy with the diagram – bones, joints, and muscles
Syndesmology or Arthrology of the Animals

But you will also find specific joints from the animal’s forelimb and hindlimb in the next section of this article.

What are the joints of the articular system?

The joints of the animal articular system include –

  • Joints of the animal skull bones,
  • Joints of the vertebral column of the animals,
  • Animal’s front leg joints and
  • Joints of the animal’s hind leg,

Let’s know the name and features of the animal’s skull joint.

Joints of the animal skull

Most of the bones of the animal skull have suture joints. So, they form synarthrosis that has no actual movement.

The fibrous tissue unites the adjacent bones of the animal skull. In older animals, these fibrous tissues become ossified.

The cartilage forms a few of the joints of the animal skull. These types of skull joints have the properties of typical synovial articulation.

The sutural articulation of the animal skull is termed as their bone’s name. You will also find the symphyseal articulation in the animal skull bones.

Related article from anatomy learner –

Now, let’s see the articulations of the animal skull bones –

  • Fibrous joints like – interparietal, frontal-parietal, interfrontal, and others,
  • The temporomandibular joint between the ramus of the animal’s mandible and the squamous part of the temporal bone,
  • Hyoid joint – includes the temporohyoid, proximal intercornual, and distal interornual joints, and
  • Mandibular symphysis between the two halves of the animal’s mandible,

The fibrous connective tissue is the binding material in the animal’s mandibular symphysis. This symphysis of the mandible doesn’t ossify even in the older life of the animal.

Joints of the vertebral column

The bones of the animals’ vertebrae are serially articulated by their bodies and processes. Thus, they form the intercentral and interneural articulation in the animal vertebral column.

Related article to animal vertebrae –

Now, let’s identify the joints from the vertebral column of the animals –

  • The atlantoaxial joint between the fovea dentis of the atlas and the odontoid process of the axis bones,
  • The atlantooccipital joint between the atlas and corresponding occipital condyles,
  • Intercentral joint between the caudal and concave surfaces of the bodies of the adjacent vertebrae,
  • The interneural joint between the arches and processes of the adjacent vertebral bones,
  • Intertransverse joint between the lumbar vertebral bones of the animals,
  • The lumbosacral joint between the last lumbar and first sacral bone of the animal’s vertebral column,
  • The sacrococcygeal joint between the body of the last sacral and first caudal vertebral bones and
  • Intercoccygeal joint between the adjacent caudal vertebrae of the animal tail,

Here, you might have a good idea of the structure of the different vertebrae of the animals. These are the few articles that help you to learn the ideal features of the vertebral bones of animals –

Joints of the animal’s thorax

The ribs, sternum, and costovertebral articulations form the animal thoracic cavity. Let’s see the joints from the thorax of the animals –

  • Costo-vertebral articulation – includes costo-central and costotransverse joints,
  • Costocondral joint between the concave surface of the ribs and the convex surface of the cartilage,
  • Sterno – the costal joint between the cartilage of the true ribs and concerned concavity of the animal sternum,
  • Inter-costal joint among the last two sternal ribs and all the asternal ribs, and
  • Sternal articulations – you will find six or seven sternal joints in the animal sternum,

Thus, you might also have a good idea of the anatomical features of the animal ribs. Let’s go through the below-mentioned article and learn more about the animal’s ribs –

You might also learn the anatomical features of the animal’s sternum to understand all the joints from the thorax.

Joints of the animal forelimb

First, let’s identify the joints from the animal’s forelimb –

  • Synsarcosis of the animal’s forelimb,
  • Shoulder joint between the scapula and humerus bones,
  • The elbow joint consists of the humero-radial, humero-ulnar, and radio-ulnar articulations,
  • Carpal or knee joint consists of the ante-brachiocarpal, intercarpal, and carpometacarpal articulations,
  • Intermetacarpal joint between the large and small metacarpal bones,
  • Metacarpophalangeal articulation among the metacarpal, phalange, and sesamoid bones (fetlock),
  • Proximal interphalangeal joint between proximal and middle phalanges (pastern) and
  • Distal interphalangeal joint among the middle, distal phalanges, and sesamoid bones,

The humero-radial joint of the animal is formed between the humeral condyle and the humeral articular surface of the radius. The posterior aspect of the humeral condyle and anconeal process of the ulna form the humeral–ulnar joint.

Again, the posterior-lateral aspect of the radius and the anterior aspect of the ulna forms the radio-ulnar joint.

The carpal or knee joint of the animal is the complex structure of the forelimb. Here, the ante-radiocarpal joint forms between the distal end of the radius ulna and the proximal end of the carpus.

Between the two rows of the carpal bones of the animal’s forelimb form the intercarpal joint. Again, the distal row of the carpal and proximal extremity of the metacarpal form the carpometacarpal articulation.

What is synsarcosis in the animal forelimb?

The scapula of the animal forelimb has no true bony connection with the thorax. Here, the scapula bone is held in its position by the several muscles and ligaments. This type of articulation of the animal’s limb is called synsarcosis.

Details guide to learning the animal’s forelimb articulation

Table 2 shows the list of articles that provide a detailed guide on the animal’s forelimb joints –

Animal forelimb jointsComplete Guides on the Forelimb  Articulations
Shoulder jointDog shoulder anatomy – bones, joints, muscles, and vessels
Animal elbow jointDog elbow anatomy – bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments
Carpal or knee jointsDog carpal anatomy – numbers, arrangements, and features
Joints of the Front Leg of the Animals

You might also find other guides on the animal’s forelimb joints from anatomy learners.

Hindlimb joints from animal articular system

First, let’s identify the joints from the hindlimb of the animal articular system –

  • Sacro-iliac joint between the articular surface of the ilium and sacrum bones,
  • Pelvic symphysis between the two halves of the hip bones,
  • Hip or coxal joint between the femoral head and acetabulum of the hip bone,
  • Stifle or genual articulation consists of the femoropatellar, femorotibial, and tibiofibular joints,
  • Hock or tarsal, or pedal articulation consists of the tibiotarsal, intertarsal, and tarsometatarsal articulations and
  • Metacarpophalangeal, proximal, and distal interphalangeal articulation of the animal’s hindlimb,

Here, the animal stifle joint is clinically essential articulation. The trochlea of the femur and patellar articular surface form the femoropatellar joint.

Again, the condyle of the femur, proximal end of the tibia, and articular menisci form the femorotibial joint. The proximal tibiofibular joint forms between the proximal head of the fibula and the condyle of the tibia.

The animal hock joint is another complex joint formed by the tibia, tarsal, and metatarsal bones. Here, the trochlea of the talus and distal end of the tibia form the tibiotarsal joint.

The intertarsal articulation of the animal’s hindlimb consists of proximal and distal intertarsal joints. Here, the talus, calcaneus, central, and fourth tarsals form the proximal intertarsal joint in the animal.

Again, the central and distal row’s tarsal bones form the distal intertarsal joint in the hindlimb.

Guides on the hindlimb joints of the animal

Table 3 shows the complete guides on the animal’s hindlimb articulations –

Animal Hindlimb JointsComplete Guides on the Hindlimb Joints
Hip jointDog hip anatomy – bones, joints, muscles, and vessels
Stifle jointCow stifle joint anatomy – bones and ligaments
Animal hock jointHock joint in cattle – bones, ligaments, and movements
Dog hock anatomy – canine tarsal joint structure
Joints of the Hind Leg of the Animals

Functions of the animal articular system

The main functions of the animal’s articular system are –

  • The articular system is responsible for the different types of movements of the body,
  • Thus, they directly help in the locomotion of the animals,

The stability of an animal’s joints depends on bony configuration, types of ligaments, and muscles.


So, the answer to the question – ‘what is the articular system’ was revealed. The type of joints and movements are essential for learning animal articular system anatomy.