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 are bones composed of?

    A:

    Bones are composed of cortical bone and trabecular bone. Cortical bone is tough and strong, and trabecular bone is less dense than cortical bone and lighter. Bones are also composed of bone-forming cells, collagen, proteins, inorganic mineral salts and bone resorbing cells.

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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:

    What are human bones made of?

    A:

    The main component of bone is bone matrix, which is a mixture of a fibrous protein called collagen and carbonated hydroxyapatite, an inorganic compound mostly made of calcium and phosphate. The combination of fibrous collagen and crystallized calcium makes bones hard and rigid and adds tensile strength.

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