The axial skeleton is the part of the skeleton that consists of the bones of the head and trunk of a vertebrate. It consists of 80 bones and is composed of six parts: the skull bones, the ossicles of the middle ear, the hyoid bone, the rib cage, sternum and the vertebral column.
- 7.4: The Thoracic Cage
- The thoracic cage (rib cage) forms the thorax (chest) portion of the body. It consists of the 12 pairs of ribs with their costal cartilages and the sternum. The ribs are anchored posteriorly to the 12 thoracic vertebrae (T1–T12). The thoracic cage protects the heart and lungs.