While the rib cage covers organs in the human abdomen, it is principally responsible for protecting the heart and lungs. The rib cage completely encloses the heart and lungs.
The rib cage is one of the strongest structures in the human body, designed to protect the heart and lungs, two of the most vital organ systems. The sternum, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and costal cartilages make up the thoracic cage. The top rib bones attach to the sternum and are slender, bent bones. On their costal cartilages, the lower rib bones link to the upper rib bones, giving them the flexibility to allow a person to breathe.