Can You Name the 35 Smallest Bones in the Human Body in Five Minutes?


By: Daniel Yetman

6 Min Quiz

Image: Douglas Sacha / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Do you know how many bones are in the human skeleton? It's a bit of a trick questions because the exact number varies slightly between individuals and changes with age. 

When you're born, your skeleton has about 270 bones. By adulthood, many of the bones in your body fuse and that number reduces to about 206. Even this number is only a rough approximation since you might not have the same number of bones as the person sitting next to you, thanks to sesamoid bones. 

A sesamoid bone is a bone that acts to redirect forces in a pulley system. For example, your patella (knee cap) allows the quadriceps muscle to efficiently pull on the front of your tibia to extend your leg. 

Many small sesamoid bones no longer serve an essential purpose for human movement and are only found in a small percentage of the population. One small sesamoid bone located behind your knee called the fabella is only found in 10-30% of the population. 

Can you name the 35 smallest bones in the human body? No, you can't say "foot bone" and "leg bone." We're looking for exact names. If you think you can name these 35 bones in under five minutes, click begin to get started!

You can feel this bone if you palpate the front of your neck. What's it called?

Your hyoid bone is located in the front of your throat and helps you move your tongue and swallow. If you get punched in the front of the throat, you're at risk of breaking your hyoid bone, which can be extremely painful!


Which bone is butterfly shaped and located in the back of your orbital cavity?

The sphenoid bone contains a special bony landmark called the sella turcica, which plays the important role of cradling your pituitary gland. Your pituitary gland releases hormones that manage almost every aspect of your body's health.


This tiny bone separates your nasal bone from your brain. It's called the ...?

Some birds store the iron ore called magnetite in their ethmoid bone which allows them to feel the direction of the world's magnetic fields. Wouldn't it be cool if humans also had that kind of sixth sense?


This bone is about the size of your little fingernail and forms your tear ducts. What's it called?

Your lacrimal bone is among the smallest in your body. There's one located near each of your inner eyes that contain the landmarks that form your tear ducts. If you've ever been knocked here, you probably already know how much it hurts to get hit in this area.


Which of these bones is also known as your knee cap?

Your patella is known as a sesamoid bone, which means that it functions to redirect forces in a pulley system. It allows your quadriceps muscle in the front of your thigh to efficiently pull on your tibia to extend your leg.


This sesamoid bone is present in less than half of humans. When it is present, it's located behind the knee in the tendon of the calf muscle. Can you name it?

Do you think you have a fabella bone? Less than half of humans still have this bone that's disappeared as we evolved. It's thought that its primary function is to redirect the forces from your calf muscle.


You can feel this bone protruding from your wrist by touching where your ulna meets your palm. What's it called?

The pisiform is another sesamoid bone that helps that muscle in your forearm move your hand. When you're developing as a baby, it's the last bone in your wrist that calcifies and goes on to form the border of your carpal tunnel.


The _____ is a group of bones that form the tips your fingers and toes.

You have a total of 56 phalanges in your body, making it the most common bone in your skeleton. Each of your hands and feet contains 14 phalanges. Each finger and toe has three, except for your thumb and big toe, which only have two.


Which of these bones makes up the front of your ankle?

If you point your foot down and feel the first bone in the front of your ankle, that's your talus bone. It's the second largest tarsal bone in your foot behind the calcaneus, otherwise known as your heel bone.


This small bone is located in the middle of your foot next to your talus bone. Which bone is it?

There's no 'foot bone' per se, but a collection of bones that are known as the tarsal bones. This allows for an even distribution of forces when you walk, run or stand. If there were only one foot bone, it would have to be very strong to withstand the ground-reaction forces.


What is the name of your C2 vertebrae?

Your axis bone works alongside your C1 vertebra to allow your head to easily turn. It's a little different than your other cervical vertebrae because it has a landmark called the dens, which protrudes to allow the C1 vertebra to rotate on top of it.


Your C1 vertebra is also known as ...?

Your atlas is your uppermost vertebra that works along with your axis to allow your head to turn. It's named after the Greek Titan Atlas who holds the world. Unlike other vertebrae, it's ring-shaped to allow for more rotation.


Which bone is more commonly referred to as the tailbone?

We might not have tails anymore, but that doesn't mean we don't still have the vestigial bone for one. The coccyx is considered one bone, but it's made up of several fused vertebrae just below your sacrum.


Which bone is located on each side of your head near your ear?

Your skull may look like one bone, but it's actually made up of a collection of bones fused together. If you looked at your head under an X-ray, you'd see sutures where the bones fused when you were a child.


The _____ is the main bone that makes up the structure of your cheek.

If you feel the prominence of your cheek, you're feeling the bony landmark known as the zygomatic arch. When somebody has what's referred to as "high cheekbones," they have a prominent zygomatic arch. So the next time you see somebody attractive, you can tell them you like their zygomatic bones!


This is the smallest bone in your body. What's it called?

The stapes is located inside your ear and helps conduct sound vibrations. It's shaped like a stirrup, which is the Latin origin of the word. It's thought to have been discovered way back in 1546 in Italy.


What's the name of the second of the three middle-ear bones?

The stapes may be the smallest bone in your body, but the incus isn't much bigger. Like the stapes, its primary function is to deliver sound ways from the malleus to the stapes. It gets its name from its anvil-like shape.


Can you name which bone makes up the roof of your mouth along with the maxillae bone?

If you rub your tongue against the roof of your mouth, you'll feel your palatine bone. Without this bone, eating would be much more difficult. And besides, there would be nothing to stop your food from getting into your brain.


This small bone is found deep inside your nasal cavity. What's it called?

The inferior nasal concha is a small, shelf-like bone inside your nose that helps form your breathing passages. If you study a human skull, you can recognize this bone easily, since it resembles a curled-up scroll inside of the nose.


What's the name of the small bone that makes up the middle of your nasal passage?

The vomer bone is located directly in the middle of your nasal passage. It divides your nose into left and right. Even though the bone is in the middle of your nose, in many people, it's bent slightly so that the two nasal passages aren't even.


This bone transmits noise from your eardrum to your incus bone. What's it called?

The malleus is another bone found in your inner ear that conducts sound. Like the other two middle ear bones, the incus and stapes, it's named for its shape. The malleus is shaped like a hammer, so can you guess what "malleus" is Latin for?


This wrist bone is commonly broken in golfers and hockey players. It's located below your fourth and fifth metatarsal bones and is shaped like a hook. What's it called?

Many golfers and hockey players break their hamate bone when swinging or taking a shot. Because it's located on the lateral part of the wrist, it has to absorb a lot of downward force. Some athletes may even have the bone removed in extreme cases.


What is the name of the largest of the wrist bones?

Your capitate bone is located directly below the phalanges and metacarpal bones that make up your middle finger. It's the largest of the carpal bones in your wrist. Your carpal bone helps your hand absorb the force generated by the movement of your middle finger.


Can you name the smallest carpal bone in your hand?

The trapezoid bone is the smallest bone in your wrist. It may be hard to find through palpation alone, but it's located below your index finger. It's uncommon to break your trapezoid due to being fairly well protected by the bones around it.


This carpal bone is found directly under your thumb. What's it called?

Your trapezium and trapezoid bones may sound similar, but they are two separate bones. Your trapezium is located directly under your thumb and makes up the border of your carpal tunnel. It's common to develop arthritis between this bone and your thumb with age.


This bone is more commonly referred to as your collarbone. Which bone is it?

Have you ever broken your collarbone? It's one of the most common bones for people to break due to being located in a fairly vulnerable position. If you fall and land on your hands, the force from impact can cause it to snap.


What is the name of the bone that makes up your heel?

The layman's term for calcaneus is the heel bone. It provides you with a stable surface to walk on, and the bone is shaped like a brick in a bridge to be able to absorb a large amount of force. It's also the insertion site of the largest tendon in your body, your Achilles.


Can you name this square-shaped bone?

Your cuboid bone is located on the lateral part of your foot and borders your calcaneus and metatarsal bones. It provides your foot with structure and helps create your foot's natural arch.


Can you name which small bone in your hand is the most medial?

If you've ever seen a scene in a movie where a character karate chops a piece of wood and breaks their hand, this might be the bone that they broke. The triquetral bone is located on the medial side of your hand near your ulna bone.


You have three of these bones in the middle of your foot. What are they called?

Your three cuneiform bones give your foot the structure of your arch. They're known as your medial, intermediate and lateral cuneiform, respectively from the inside of your foot to the outside.


What's the name of the long, slender bones that make up your hand?

You have five metacarpal bones in each hand that make up the bulk of your palms. If you've ever broken your hand punching a wall, you likely broke one of your metacarpal bones. A fracture in one of your metacarpal bones is commonly referred to as a boxer's fracture.


This group of bones makes up the bulk of your foot. What's it called?

Your metacarpal bones are the metacarpals of your feet. They bridge the gap between your tarsal bones and phalanges. If drop something heavy on your foot, there's a high risk that you'll break one of these bones due to their slender shape.


If you grew a moustache, it would cover which bone?

Your maxilla is formed from two bones fused together in the middle. It makes up the area above your upper lip and also forms part of your sinuses. The most common way to break this bone is during car accidents or getting knocked in the face.


This is the first bone at the base of your wrist that borders your ulna bone. What's it called?

Your lunate bone gets its name from its crescent-moon shape. It's located at the base of your wrist and borders your ulna bone. It's easy to find by palpating the back of your wrist just above where your ulna and carpal bones meet.


What's the name of the carpal bone in your wrist that borders with your radius?

Your scaphoid bone is the second largest of your carpal bones. You can easily feel it by spreading your fingers and palpating the area just above the head of your radius. Like the other carpal bones, it helps gives your wrist structure.


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