Flat Bones in the Human Body

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson describes the two major criteria for flat bones of the body, why the term 'flat bone' is a misnomer, and lists the names of the various flat bones in the human body.

Classifying Bones

The books in a library can be classified and categorized in many ways. We can classify them by author, genre, size, length, language, alphabetically, and much more. In the same spirit, we can classify the bones of our body in many ways.

One of these ways is by the general shape of the bone. This lesson goes over one type of bone classified by its shape. That of the flat bone.

What Are Flat Bones?

Again, flat bones are a type of bone classified, in large part, by their shape. Other types of bones classified by their shape are the tubular bones and irregular bones. This lesson, as just mentioned a second ago, is about the flat bones.

Flat bones classically include some of the bones of your skull, face, rib cage, shoulder, and pelvis. It's important to note that many of these bones aren't truly flat and have a curve to them so the name 'flat bone' is a bit of a misnomer.

The flat bones:

  • Provide protection to a critical structure(s), such as the brain or the heart and lungs


  • Provide a broad and largely flat surface area whereby by a muscle(s) can attach, such as the shoulder blade.

Names of Flat Bones

With that out of the way, let's go over the major flat bones. The bones of the skull that are classically listed as flat bones are the:

  • Frontal bone. There is only one frontal bone and it helps make up your forehead.
  • Occipital bone, also just the one in your body. The occipital bone has a hole that allows for your brain to connect to the spinal cord.
  • Parietal bones, of which there are two. These help to form the top of the skull.

The bones of the face that are classically seen as being frontal bones are the:

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