A false rib is any one of the last 5 pairs of ribs. They are said to be “false” because they do not attach to the sternum (the breast bone). The upper three false ribs connect to the costal cartilages of the ribs just above them, but do not themselves reach the sternum. The last two false ribs, however, usually have no ventral attachment (no anchor at all in front) and are called floating, fluctuating or vertebral ribs. All 12 pairs of ribs attach to the spine (vertebrae) in the back. The 12 pairs of ribs consist of the true ribs (the first seven ribs attached to the sternum – the breast bone. They are also termed sternal ribs.