Which area of the body has the most bones?
Correct answer: 3.
- Hand: 27 bones in each hand (carpus/carpals or wrist: 8; metacarpals/palm: 5; digital bones, fingers and thumb: 14 [Note 1]).
- Foot: 26 bones in each foot (tarsals: 7; metatarsals: 5; and phalanges/toes: 14 [Note 1]).
- Spine: 26 bones (known as vertebrae, there are (starting from the top) 5 regions: 7 cervical; 12 thoracic; 5 lumbar; 1 sacral; and 1 coccygeal [Note 2]).
- Skull: 22 bones.
- Both of your hands and feet have, respectively, one quarter of the bones in your body; and combined have half the bones in your body.
- The sacrum and coccyx do not have numbers and each is thought of as one bone. The 5 sacral vertebrae which are fused together to form 1 bone called the sacrum and the 4 coccygeal vertebrae that are also fused together to form the coccyx or tailbone (7 + 12 + 5 + 1 + 1 = 26, not 24 or 33 as some people suggest, and as it used to be taught). (Saladin, 2018, p.229).
- It is often stated that there are 206 bones in the skeleton, but this is only a typical adult count, not an invariable number. At birth there are about 270, and even more bones form during childhood. With age, however, the number decreases as separate bones gradually fuse.
Saladin, K.S. (2018) Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function. 8th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education. pp.229.