Science Questions

What is the hardest bone in your body to break?

Sat, 2nd Oct 2010

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Question

Calvin Stafford asked:

What is the hardest bone in your body to break?

Answer

Diana -   Okay.  Well I reckon itís the petrous part of the temporal bone and you can find the temporal bone sort of in behind your ear, underneath your ear. The petrous part of it is this really solid, sort of stony (which is what petrous actually means) bit of bone which goes around in all your auditory canals and itís the bit of bone that survives really well in archaeology as well.  I mean, you can sort of bash it and it just stays in one piece.  But a lot of people say that the femur is also a really hard bone to break because itís quite solid.  It is sort of thick and it is your thigh bone, but I reckon the petrous part is the best contender.

Dave -   I guess thereís two different questions.  One is, how strong is the bone and also, how likely is it to get damaged?  Your femur might be incredibly strong, but itís also kind of a major structural part of your body and when you fall off a motorbike, it gets bashed really hard.

Diana -   Exactly, yeah.  Itís one of those that you're more likely to injure. The malleus, the incus, and stapes, the little tiny, tiny bones inside your ear are probably the hardest to break because they're so hard to get to, but you know, if you took them out, and gave them a good bashing, theyíd break very easily.

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Calvin Stafford asked the Naked Scientists: What is the hardest bone in your body to break? What do you think? Calvin Stafford, Fri, 1st Oct 2010

Your head bone maybe? Geezer, Fri, 1st Oct 2010

I've always thought the femur was the hardest.. maybe it's the densest does that always correlate to hard? The three bones in your inner ear would be pretty hard to break.
JnA, Fri, 1st Oct 2010

I'd go for the ossicles - the tiny bones in the middle ear - because they are contained in a bony cavity and are therefore much harder to access.

Chris chris, Sat, 2nd Oct 2010

I would agree with Chris on the point of a bone protected by another bone should be the hardest to break. But the strongest bone, I would go along with JnA, the Femur. That said, there are some whose ability to display incredible thick-headedness would suggest the Skull.

In the furtherance of medical science, I shall conduct a few experiments for you.

"WIFEY! Come hither, I need you for a few experiments." Don_1, Sat, 2nd Oct 2010

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