How many ribs does the human body have? What are "false" ribs?

Ribs are the long curved bones which constitute the rib cage. They articulate posteriorly with the vertebral column and terminates anteriorly as cartilage. Chest bones and backbone together form the ribcage. We have 12 ribs on each side of our chest. Our backbone consists of 33 small, disk-like bones called vertebrae. Rib Cage protects the internal parts of our body and provides a definite structure.

Rib cage

  • The ribs consist of 24 bones in 12 pairs which form the protective cage of the thorax.
  • The ribs protect the thoracic internal organs.
  • Vertebrae of the thoracic region have limited movement and provide support to the rib cage and protect the lungs and heart.
  • 12 pairs of rib bones articulate with the thoracic vertebrae on the posterior side.

False ribs

  • 8-12 rib pairs are attached to vertebrae posteriorly, but anteriorly they are not attached to the sternum directly.These rib pairs are called False ribs.
  • The 8-10 rib pairs attach to the sternum indirectly via the costal cartilages of the ribs above them.
  • The 11 and 12 rib pairs do not attach to the sternum at all. So, these two rib pairs are alternatively called the floating ribs .

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