True or False: Ribs

Let’s not let history repeat itself…incorrectly. I almost made an error on a rib illustration because I did a quick google image search on “false ribs.” I had labeled the false ribs as 8-12, but I was finding some illustrations labeled as 8-10, so I started to doubt myself. Upon further investigation, I found that the false ribs, include the floating ribs 11 & 12, so labeling false ribs as 8-12 is correct.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines false rib as “a rib whose cartilages unite indirectly or not at all with the sternum.”1 A floating rib is “a rib (as one of either of the last two pairs in humans) that has no attachment to the sternum.”2

So the images that are labeling false ribs as ribs 8-10, are incorrectly labeling them. Instead they are referring to vertebrochondral ribs, which are “any of the three false ribs that are located above the floating ribs and that are attached to each other by costal cartilages.”3

True ribs are also vertebrosternal ribs4, because they attach directly to the sternum.

Please feel free to use any of these images for free under the creative commons license. You must keep my copyright with the image, otherwise you are free to use it on your personal site. Non-commercial use only.

Creative Commons License
False ribs by Carolina Hrejsa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.hrejsa.com.

Creative Commons License
Vertebrochondral ribs by Carolina Hrejsa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.hrejsa.com.

Creative Commons License
Vertebrochondral ribs by Carolina Hrejsa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.hrejsa.com.


1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/false%20rib. Accessed April 18, 2016.

2. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/floating+rib. Accessed April 18, 2016.

3. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/vertebrochondral%20rib. Accessed April 18, 2016.

4. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/vertebrosternal%20rib. Accessed April 18, 2016.

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