CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Computer graphic of the skeleton of the human rib- cage (front view). At top are cervical vertebrae of the neck; beneath this, twelve pairs of ribs attach to the thoracic vertebrae, curving around to the front to form a cage. This rib-cage serves to protect the delicate heart and lung organs of the thorax. At the front (above centre) the first seven pairs of "true ribs" connect directly to the central sternum bone; the next three pairs of "false ribs" attach indirectly to the sternum by cartilage; the last two pairs of "floating" ribs are unattached. The rib-cage is also an attachment for the pectoral girdle bones of the arms.
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