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29 August 2014
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You are here: BBC Science > Human Body & Mind > The Body > Skeleton
Fact files

Skeleton - Pelvis

Sex difference: A woman's pelvis is shallower and wider than a man's

Ball and socket joint: Connects your leg to your pelvis

Hipbones

Your pelvis is a ring of bone that supports the weight of your upper body. Commonly referred to as your hipbones, the two major bones in your pelvis are your coxal bones. Each coxal bone is made up of three smaller bones that fuse together: your ilium, ischium and pubic bone. When you put your hands on your hips, they are resting on your illia. These are most pronounced in women. Your ischia are your sitting bones. They carry all your weight when you sit down. Your pubic bones meet at the front of your pelvis and are linked together by a bridge of flexible cartilage.

Different in men and women

A woman's pelvis is shallower and wider than a man's, making it wide enough for a baby to pass through during birth.

Hip joint

Your legs are connected to your pelvis by your hip joint. The head of your femur (thigh bone) fits inside a deep socket in your pelvis called the acetabulum to make your hip joint, which is a 'ball and socket' joint.

Spinal connection

Your pelvis is joined to your spine at your sacrum - a bone made up of five fused vertebrae in the lower part of your spine. Your sacrum forms the back wall of your pelvis.

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