A three-dimensional mathematical model useful for studies of the mechanics of the human skeletal thorax is described. To construct this model, rib cage elements are incorporated into a previously reported model of the thoracolumbar spine. The vertebrae and bony portions of the ribs and sternum are idealized as rigid bodies. The behavior of the discs, ligaments and costal cartilages are modelled by deformable elements. Appropriate geometric and stiffness property data are assigned to the elements of the model. In constructing the model, it was found that the mechanical response of the costo-vertebral joint is strongly influenced by articulation geometry. Although rigid bodies were used to model calcified portions of the ribs, the model predicted rib cage deformations in close agreement with those measured experimentally. These studies indicate that the rigid body motion of calcified portions of the rib makes a major contribution to the deformation of the rib cage in response to certain types of loadings. Quantitative results are also reported on the roles the rib cage plays in bending responses of the spine, the lateral stability of the spine, and the production and correction of several scoliotic deformities.