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German: Schädel

1 Definition

The skull is a segment of the human skeleton composed of 22 flat or irregularly shaped individual bones, the cranial bones. With the exception of the mandible, all cranial bones are immovably connected to each other.

2 Background

The information on the number of cranial bones in the literature varies frequently. This is partly due to the fact that some authors also count the hyoid bone (Os hyoideum) and the auditory bones (Ossicula auditus) among the cranial bones.

According to the terminologia anatomica, the hyoid bone also belongs to the cranial bones. It is the only bone in the human body that has no connection to another bone.

3 Anatomy

The skull is divided into the cranium and the facial skull. The connection between Os sphenoidal and Os ethmoidale in the area of the skull base marks the transition from the brain to the facial skull. Different skull shapes can also be differentiated on the basis of different bone measuring points.

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3.1 Cerebral Skull

The cerebral skull (Neurocranium) can be subdivided into the cranial base (Basis cranii) and the cranial roof (Calvaria), also known as the "skull calotte". It consists of seven bones:

3.2 Facial Skull

The facial skull (viscerocranium) forms, as the name suggests, the bony base of the face and forms the eye cavity, mouth cavity and nasal cavity.

It consists of 15 bones:

The border between the cranium and the skull is best seen in the side view. In humans, it runs from the upper margin of the eye cavity (orbita) to the upper margin of the outer auditory canals (Meatus acusticus externus). The facial skull is therefore located ventral and caudal of the brain skull.

4 Embryology

The cranial bones are formed by desmal or chondral ossification from the desmocranium and the chondrocranium. The facial skull develops mainly from the desmocranium, while the brain skull is formed from portions of desmocranium and chondrocranium.

5 Skull Growth

The infant has not yet completely ossified the skull. Between the individual skull bones there are bone gaps which are bridged by flexible connective tissue. They are called fontanelles. As the growth continues, the fontanelles gradually close and the skull completely ossifies. With the help of the suture one can also later detect the individual plate bones of the brain skull in the adult skull.


Specialties: Anatomy

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