The Pelvic Girdle


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Illustration compares male and female pelvic bones. In both males and females, a wide, rounded bone called the ilium attaches to each side of the spine. The ilium curves toward the front, where it narrows into the ischium. A loop-shaped bone extends down from the place where the ilium meets the ischium, and connects back to the ilium in the front center of the body; this area is the pubic arch.  Females appear to have a wider pubic arch.
To adapt to reproductive fitness, the (a) female pelvis is lighter, wider, shallower, and has a broader angle between the pubic bones than (b) the male pelvis. Source: OpenStax Biology 2e

OpenStax Biology 2e

The pelvic girdle attaches to the lower limbs of the axial skeleton. Because it is responsible for bearing the weight of the body and for locomotion, the pelvic girdle is securely attached to the axial skeleton by strong ligaments. It also has deep sockets with robust ligaments to securely attach the femur to the body. The pelvic girdle is further strengthened by two large hip bones. In adults, the hip bones, or coxal bones, are formed by the fusion of three pairs of bones: the ilium, ischium, and pubis. The pelvis joins together in the anterior of the body at a joint called the pubic symphysis and with the bones of the sacrum at the posterior of the body.

The female pelvis is slightly different from the male pelvis. Over generations of evolution, females with a wider pubic angle and larger diameter pelvic canal reproduced more successfully. Therefore, their offspring also had pelvic anatomy that enabled successful childbirth.


Clark, M., Douglas, M., Choi, J. Biology 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: