The Skull

Twenty-two bones form the human skull. Many of the skull bones are either flat bones or irregular bones. All of the bones of the skull are part of the axial skeleton. These various bones fuse together by sutures to form a protective case for the brain, also known as the skull. A suture, an immovable joint, holds bones together. Eight major bones contribute to the formation of the skull: the frontal, two parietal, occipital, temporal, sphenoid, ethmoid, mandible, maxilla, and palatine bones. The skull also contains sinus cavities. The frontal bone, a flat bone, forms the front of the humans’ skull and houses two sinuses. Sinuses, air pockets, make the skull lighter, thus allowing our necks to support them. There are two parietal bones. The occipital bone is found as the base of the skull; its occipital condyles allow for nodding and the hole at the bottom allows the spinal cord through. The temporal bone, irregular shaped, contains three major projections: the zygomatic process, the styloid process, and the mastoid process. The sphenoid bone resembles the shape of a bat and protects the spinal cord as well as housing two sinuses. The sphenoid bone is called the key stone of the human skull. The ethmoid is irregularly cuboidally shaped and contains two sinuses. The mandible or the lower jaw serves as the biggest strongest facial bone. The mandible has one special feature; it is the only bone in the skull that can move. The mandible bone allows for movements such as chewing and speech. The maxillae or upper jaw makes up part of the hard palate, provides sockets for teeth, and contains two maxillary sinuses. Two L-shaped palatine bones located deeply within the skull contribute to one third of the hard palate.

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Also found on the human skull are processes, sutures, and depressions. The sutures connect the eight bon
photo courtesy of Photo taken by driki.
es together into one functional skull. The various depressions serve for connective purposes. There are also various holes to allow certain structures to pass. The magnum foramen allows the spinal cord through. The processes serve as anchor points for other muscles. The styloid process serves as an anchoring point for muscles of the tongue and larynx. The mastoid process, much larger than the styloid process, serves as an anchoring point for muscles of the jaw, neck, and spine.

The skull bones protect one of the body’s most important organs, the brain. The varying shapes and types of bones allow people to live without the fear of injuring their brain.