The human body is made up of over 200 bones by the time we reach adulthood. Our skeleton is essential for supporting organs, anchoring muscles and protecting our vital organs (heart, lungs and brain). It makes up about 30 or 40% of our total body weight. Most of us are born with over 300 bones which fuse together as we grow. Amazingly, more than half of our bones are in our hands and feet. We are well aware of most of the large bones and in our body, especially if we have broken one, but have you ever wondered which is the smallest bone?
What is the smallest bone in the human body?
The name of the smallest bone is the stapes, also known as the stirrup. It is found in the middle ear where it transmits sound vibrations from the Incas (anvil), which is the second smallest bone in the human body, to the inner ear. It is only about 2.5-3.5 mm (a 10th of an inch) big. Not only is it the smallest bone, but it is also the lightest bone in the human body. It has the shape of a stirrup, which is where it gets its alternative name. The stapes is a very important bone and any damage to it will affect the hearing. A condition affecting the stapes, called otosclerosis, is caused by abnormal growths on the bone. This can lead to moderate to severe hearing loss.