The body of sternum, considerably longer, narrower, and thinner than the manubrium, attains its greatest breadth close to the lower end.
Surfaces.—Its anterior surface is nearly flat, directed upward and forward, and marked by three transverse ridges which cross the bone opposite the third, fourth, and fifth articular depressions. It affords attachment on either side to the sternal origin of the Pectoralis major. At the junction of the third and fourth pieces of the body is occasionally seen an orifice, the sternal foramen, of varying size and form. The posterior surface, slightly concave, is also marked by three transverse lines, less distinct, however, than those in front; from its lower part, on either side, the Transversus thoracis takes origin.
Borders.—The superior border is oval and articulates with the manubrium, the junction of the two forming the sternal angle. The inferior border is narrow, and articulates with the xiphoid process. Each lateral border , at its superior angle, has a small facet, which with a similar facet on the manubrium, forms a cavity for the cartilage of the second rib; below this are four angular depressions which receive the cartilages of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs, while the inferior angle has a small facet, which, with a corresponding one on the xiphoid process, forms a notch for the cartilage of the seventh rib. These articular depressions are separated by a series of curved interarticular intervals, which diminish in length from above downward, and correspond to the intercostal spaces. Most of the cartilages belonging to the true ribs, as will be seen from the foregoing description, articulate with the sternum at the lines of junction of its primitive component segments. This is well seen in many of the lower animals, where the parts of the bone remain ununited longer than in man.