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This article is about the part of the skeleton. For other uses, see Rib (disambiguation). This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2008) The human rib cage. (Source:

Human anatomy

Main article: Human rib cage X-ray image of human chest, with ribs labeled. Single human rib-detail

Humans have 24 ribs (12 pairs). The first seven sets of ribs, known as ``true ribs``, are directly attached to the sternum through the costal cartilage. The following five sets are known as ``false ribs``, three of these sharing a common cartilaginous connection to the sternum, while the last two (eleventh and twelfth ribs) are termed floating ribs (costae fluitantes) or vertebral ribs. They are attached to the vertebrae only, and not to the sternum or cartilage coming off of the sternum. Some people are missing one of the two pairs of floating ribs, while others have a third pair. Rib removal is the surgical excision of ribs for therapeutic or cosmetic reasons.

The ribcage is separated from the lower abdomen by the thoracic diaphragm which controls breathing. When the diaphragm contracts, the ribcage and thoracic cavity are expanded, reducing intra-thoracic pressure and drawing air into the lungs.

In other animals

In fish, there are often two sets of ribs attached to the vertebral column. One set, the dorsal ribs, are found in the dividing septum between the upper and lower parts of the main muscle segments, projecting roughly sideways from the vertebral column. The second set, of ventral ribs arise from the vertebral column just below the dorsal ribs, and enclose the lower body, often joining at the tips. Not all species possess both types of rib, with the dorsal ribs being most commonly absent. Sharks, for example, have no dorsal ribs, and only very short ventral ribs, while lampreys have no ribs at all. In some teleosts, there may be additional rib-like bones within the muscle mass.[1]

Skeleton of a dog showing the location of the ribs

Tetrapods, however, only ever have a single set of ribs which are probably homologous with the dorsal ribs of fishes. In the early tetrapods, every vertebra bore a pair of ribs, although those on the thoracic vertebrae are typically the longest. The sacral ribs were stout and short, since they formed part of the pelvis, connecting the backbone to the hip bones.[1]

In most subsequent forms, many of these early ribs have been lost, and in living amphibians and reptiles, there is great variation in rib structure and number. For example, turtles have only eight pairs of ribs, which are developed into a bony or cartilagenous carapace and plastron, while snakes have numerous ribs running along the full length of their trunk. Frogs typically have no ribs, aside from a sacral pair, which form part of the pelvis.[1]

In birds, ribs are present as distinct bones only on the thoracic region, although small fused ribs are present on the cervical vertebrae. The thoracic ribs of birds possess a wide projection to the rear; this uncinate process is an attachment for the shoulder muscles.[1]

Mammals usually also only have distinct ribs on the thoracic vertebra, although fixed cervical ribs are also present in monotremes. In marsupials and placental mammals, the cervical and lumbar ribs are found only as tiny remnants fused to the vertebrae, where they are referred to as transverse processes. In general, the structure and number of the true ribs in humans is similar to that in other mammals. Unlike reptiles, caudal ribs are never found in mammals.[1]

See also

Bone terminology Human rib cage Terms for anatomical location Ribs (food)


^ a b c d e Romer, Alfred Sherwood; Parsons, Thomas S. (1977). The Vertebrate Body. Philadelphia, PA: Holt-Saunders International. pp. 170–173. ISBN 0-03-910284-X.  Look up rib in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Clinically Oriented Anatomy, 4th ed. Keith L. Moore and Robert F. Dalley. pp. 62–64 v â€¢ d â€¢ e Human anatomy (TA A01.1) Head Forehead Â· Ear Â· Jaw Â· Face (Cheek, Eye, Nose, Mouth, Chin) Â· Occiput Â· Scalp Â· Temple Neck Throat Â· Adam's apple Torso

Breast Â· Thorax Â· Abdomen Â· Navel Â· Back Â· Pelvis

Sex organs Limbs Upper limb

Shoulder Â· Axilla Â· Arm

Elbow Â· Forearm

Wrist Â· Hand Â· Finger (Thumb Â· Index Â· Middle Â· Ring Â· Little) Lower limb/ (see also leg)

Hip Â· Buttocks Â· Thigh

Knee Â· Calf Â· Crus

Ankle Â· Heel Â· Foot Â· Toe (Hallux Â· Fifth) Â· Sole Skin Hair

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