How does articular cartilage differ in appearance from spongy bone?

Lots. For the most part (with exceptions) articulate cartilage is found at the terminal end of a bone with intent to articulate with the other bone also having articular cartilage. Cartilage is cartilage and bone is bone. Articular cartilages lie over some spongy bone and bone gets more dense further down. The cartilage helps to protect the bone, lubricates, absorbs impact.

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