The ''incus'' (plural incudes) or anvil is a
bone A bone is a rigid organ that constitutes part of the skeleton in most vertebrate animals. Bones protect the various other organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells, store minerals, provide structure and support for the body, ...
in the middle ear. The anvil-shaped small bone is one of three ossicles in the middle ear. The ''incus'' receives vibrations from the '' malleus'', to which it is connected laterally, and transmits these to the '' stapes'' medially. The ''incus'' is so-called because of its resemblance to an anvil ( la, Incus).


The incus is the second of the ossicles, three bones in the middle ear which act to transmit sound. It is shaped like an anvil, and has a long and short crus extending from the body, which articulates with the malleus. The short crus attaches to the posterior ligament of the incus. The long crus articulates with the stirrup at the lenticular process. The superior ligament of the incus attaches at the body of the incus to the roof of the tympanic cavity.


Vibrations in the middle ear are received via the tympanic membrane. The malleus, resting on the membrane, conveys vibrations to the incus. This in turn conveys vibrations to the stapes.


"Incus" means "anvil" in Latin. Several sources attribute the discovery of the incus to the anatomist and philosopher Alessandro Achillini. The first brief written description of the ''incus'' was by Berengario da Carpi in his ''Commentaria super anatomia Mundini'' (1521). Andreas Vesalius, in his '' De humani corporis fabrica'', was the first to compare the second element of the ossicles to an anvil, thereby giving it the name ''incus''. The final part of the long limb was once described as a "fourth ossicle" by Pieter Paaw in 1615.

Additional images

File:Illu auditory ossicles-en.svg, Ossicles File:Occipital bone dissection.jpg, Tympanic cavity. Facial canal. Internal carotid artery. File:Slide1ghe.JPG, Auditory ossicles. Tympanic cavity. Deep dissection. File:Slide2ghe2.JPG, Aditory ossicles. Incus and malleus. Deep dissection.

See also

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External links

The Anatomy Wiz
''Incus'' {{Authority control Bones of the head and neck Auditory system Ear Ossicles