the flexible, semi-rigid connective tissue consisting of rounded cells (chondrocytes) in a matrix with collagen fibres and low in calcium and phosphate salts. Serves to support the body. It is not as strong as bone but is lighter and more flexible. It is incompressible and returns to its original form. Cyclostomata and Chondrichthyes have an entirely cartilaginous skeleton while other fishes have both cartilaginous and bony elements in the skeleton. Forms include hyaline, elastic, fibrocartilage and calcified cartilage, all q.v., cited here in order from least to most dense. Also called gristle, especially when ingested by humans

Dictionary of ichthyology. 2009.


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