Rib cage facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Rib cage
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The human rib cage. (Source: Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, 20th ed. 1918.)
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Projection on the rib cage of the heart, lungs and diaphragm. The shaded areas indicate the extent of the pleural cavities not filled by the lungs.
Latin cavea thoracis

The rib cage is the arrangement of ribs attached to the vertebral column and sternum in the thorax of most vertebrates, that encloses and protects the heart and lungs. In humans, the rib cage, also known as the thoracic cage, is a bony and cartilaginous structure which surrounds the thoracic cavity and supports the shoulder girdle to form the core part of the human skeleton. A typical human rib cage consists of 24 ribs in 12 pairs, the sternum and xiphoid process, the costal cartilages, and the 12 thoracic vertebrae.

Together with the skin and associated fascia and muscles, the rib cage makes up the thoracic wall and provides attachments for the muscles of the neck, thorax, upper abdomen, and back.

The rib cage has a major function in the respiratory system.

Structure

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Human rib cage -CT scan (parallel projection (left) and perspective projection (right)).

Ribs are described based on their location and connection with the sternum. All ribs are attached behind to the thoracic vertebrae and are numbered accordingly one to twelve. Ribs that articulate directly with the sternum are called true ribs, whereas those that connect indirectly via cartilage are termed false ribs. Floating ribs (eleven and twelve) are not attached to the sternum at all.

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Rib cage Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.