How Many Ribs Does a Person Have? The Sternum & Rib Cage Count

number of ribs on the chest

The ribs have an indispensable function not only in humans. They are part of the entire skeleton, have a supportive effect in the body and also protect the internal organs. In contrast to other bones, each rib has two parts that make up a whole. The question of how many ribs a person has is discussed below.


A rib is made up of three different parts. They are called the rib head, neck and body. The spine is the fixed point of the human ribs. The individual rib bones are rooted in the trunk vertebrae. In humans this only applies to the area of ​​the upper trunk vertebrae.

The starting point is formed by the rib heads, which are in direct contact with the vertebral bones. Two pairs of vertebrae lying one below the other always have direct contact with the heads. In this way the division of all rib heads comes about.

“In the front, ribs are joined to the sternum; in the back to the thoracic vertebrae. They also give support to the collarbone (pectoral girdle). The sternum lies in front of the vital organs. This is a strong bone and is not easy to crack, whereas the ribs can fracture easily” – healthoverdosed.

On the chest side, the ribs are again held together by the thoracic vertebra. The rib neck is connected to the sternum, which is made possible by the rib hump. The main part is made up of the rib body. In addition to the two edges, it consists of an inside and an outside. They stand out due to their evenly structured surfaces. An outward curve is characteristic of the inside, while the outside slopes inwards.

The space between the ribs is traversed by muscles that support breathing together with the rib joints. The area is also supplied with blood vessels.

All ribs stand out due to their slightly curved shape. Together they form the human rib cage. This is why the term ‘rib cage’ is also common. It encloses the upper chest area, underneath are vital internal organs such as the lungs or the heart.
The number of ribs in humans:

The human rib cage is made up of twelve pairs of ribs. As a result, humans have a total of 24 individual rib bones.


In rare cases it is more or less. The ribs on the spine are bone-like. Towards the sternum they take on a structure similar to cartilage. A distinction is made between sternal and asternal ribs:

The term ’sternal’ means “held by the thoracic vertebra”, whereas astern al ribs are located on the coastal vertebra. The top seven pairs belong to the group of sternal ribs, with the first starting from the cervical vertebra. Occasionally there is a cervical rib on the seventh vertebra.

The pairs of ribs no. 8 to 10 are considered asternal. Often the sternal pairs are referred to as real, the asternal as false ribs. Real ribs are connected to bones, false only to cartilage. The last two costal arches sit on the muscles. They come into contact neither with the bones nor with parts of cartilage.