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In anatomy, the ribs are the set of bony struts that form a rigid structure (the rib cage) around the thorax[?] of vertebrates. The purpose of the rib cage is to protect the lungs, heart and associated organs from compression.

The human skeleton has 24 ribs, 12 on each side (a small propoertion have one pair more or less). They are attached to the vertebral column[?] behind, and the first seven pairs are connected to the sternum[?] in front and are known as true ribs. The eighth, ninth, and tenth are attached in front to the cartilaginous portion of the next rib above. The lower two, that is the eleventh and twelfth, are not attached in front and are called floating ribs. The spaces between the ribs are known as intercostal spaces; they contain the intercostal muscles, nerves, and arteries. The rib cage allows for breathing due to its elasticity.

It is a common urban legend that male humans have one rib fewer than female humans. This is false, and originates from the Christian biblical legend describing the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam.

See also: Human anatomy



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