Q:

What bones protect the heart?

A:

Quick Answer

The thoracic cage or the rib cage protects both the heart and lungs. The thoracic cage is composed of 12 pairs of ribs, the sternum and 12 thoracic vertebrae.

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Full Answer

The 12 pairs of ribs are further subdivided into groups that include true, false and floating ribs. The true ribs are the top seven pair of ribs, and the rib pairs numbered eight through 10 are the false ribs. The floating ribs are the 11th and 12th rib pairs. They are called floating ribs because they are solely connected to the thoracic vertebrae.

All ribs are connected to the thoracic vertebrae, which is located at the back. True ribs are also connected to the sternum by a rib's coastal cartilage. However, false ribs are connected solely to a coastal cartilage and not to the sternum. Besides serving as protection for the heart and lungs, the ribcage is also important for the body's support and respiratory function.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the function of the sternum?

    A:

    The sternum is a long and narrow bone that forms the base of the rib cage and protects several vital chest organs. It is located in the anterior thoracic region, along the midline of the body.

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  • Q:

    What holds bones together?

    A:

    Bones are connected to one another and held together by ligaments. About.com Sports Medicine says that ligaments are strong bands of tissue that hold bones in complete alignment, preventing the skeleton from being turned or twisted into unnatural, potentially damaging angles.

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  • Q:

    What is the study of bones called?

    A:

    According to the Museum of Osteology, the study of bones is called osteology, which is practiced by doctors and researchers called osteologists. Osteology is a complex science that uses information and data from anatomy, archaeology and anthropology.

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  • Q:

    How much do bones weigh?

    A:

    The bones that make up the human skeleton comprise about 15 percent of the body weight. Thus, a 200-pound person has a bone weight of about 30 pounds.

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