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pelvis

in human anatomy, basin-shaped complex of bones that connects the trunk and legs, supports and balances the trunk, and contains and supports the intestines, urinary bladder, and internal sex organs. The pelvic girdle consists of paired hipbones, connected in front at the pubic symphysis and behind by the sacrum; each is made up of three bones-the blade-shaped ilium, above and to either side, which accounts for the width of the hips; the ischium, behind and below, on which the weight falls in sitting; and the pubis, in front. All three unite in early adulthood at a triangular suture in the acetabulum, the cup-shaped socket that forms the hip joint with the head of the femur (thighbone). The ring made by the pelvic girdle functions as the birth canal in females. The pelvis provides attachment for muscles that balance and support the trunk and move the legs, hips, and trunk. In the infant the pelvis is narrow and nonsupportive. As the child begins walking, the pelvis broadens and tilts, the sacrum descends deeper into its articulation with the ilia, and the lumbar curve develops.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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