Floating ribs are also known as vertebral ribs. They do not connect with the sternum ventrally and are only connected to the vertebral column.
The last two pairs of ribs are known as the floating ribs, i.e. 11th and 12th pair. The floating ribs are comparatively smaller and have cartilaginous tips. They are only connected to the thoracic vertebrae, so they are also known as the vertebral ribs and there is no attachment present ventrally, hence the name “floating ribs”.
There are twelve pairs of ribs present in the human skeleton. The first seven pairs of ribs are known as the true ribs. They are vertebrosternal, i.e. they directly articulate with the sternum ventrally by sternocostal joints.
The last five pairs of ribs are known as false ribs including the floating ribs. The other false ribs are 8th, 9th and 10th pairs of ribs. They are known as the vertebrochondral ribs. They are connected to the 7th pair of ribs by hyaline cartilage. The elasticity of joints allows the movement of the rib cage during respiration.
All the ribs articulate with the thoracic vertebrae of the vertebral column dorsally by costovertebral joints.
Also see: Bones of Spine
The ribs are the part of the axial skeleton. Ribs, sternum and thoracic vertebrae constitute the rib cage, which protects the thoracic visceral organs such as the heart, lungs, etc.
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