Where is the smallest
bone in your body?
The smallest bone
in the body is called the stapes or stirrup. It is in the
middle ear and is part of the system that
carries sound signals to the brain. At only 3 mm
(1/8 inch) long, the stirrup is about the size
of a grain of rice. The footplate of the stirrup
bone is attached to a membrane called the oval
window, which leads to the inner ear. It is
connected to two other very small bones called
the hammer and the anvil. All three of these
bones are joined to the eardrum, where sound is
collected before it is sent in the form of nerve
signals to the brain.
The ear is a very
important organ for keeping our sense of
balance. Without a sense of balance, we could
not hold our body steady, and we would stagger
and fall when we tried to move.
Some people suffer
from motion sickness when they travel by boat,
car, train or airplane. Motion sickness is
caused by excessive stimulation of the
vestibular organs. But researchers do not know
why some people develop motion sickness more
easily than others.