Humans have 24 ribs (12 pairs). The first seven sets of ribs, known as “true ribs”, are directly attached to the sternum through the costal cartilage…read more
Humans have 24 ribs (12 pairs). The first seven sets of ribs, known as "true ribs", are directly attached to the sternum through the costal cartilage. Rib 1 is unique and harder to distinguish than other ribs. It is a short, flat, C-shaped bone. The vertebral attachment can be found just below the neck and the majority of this bone can be found above the level of the clavicle. Ribs 2 through 7 have a more traditional appearance. The following five sets are known as "false ribs", three of these sharing a common cartilaginous connection to the sternum, while the last two (eleventh and twelfth ribs) are termed floating ribs (costae fluitantes) or vertebral ribs. They are attached to the vertebrae only, and not to the sternum or cartilage coming off of the sternum. Some people are missing one of the two pairs of floating ribs, while others have a third pair. Rib removal is the surgical excision of ribs for therapeutic or cosmetic reasons. In general, human ribs increase in length from ribs 1 through 7 and decrease in length again through rib 12. Along with this change in size, the ribs become progressively oblique (slanted) from ribs 1 through 9, then less slanted through rib 12.