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The skull is the bony framework of your head. It gives shape to your head and face. It also holds and protects your brain, and other facial features such as the eyes, nose and ears. The skull is not just one single bone structure. It is made up of eight cranial bones and fourteen facial bones. Read on to learn more about the skull.

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Skull - Anterior or Front View
Skull - Anterior or Front View

The skull can be divided into two main parts: the cranium and the mandible. The cranium is the largest part of the skull enclosing the brain, eyes, ears and nose. The mandible is the lower jaw, also known as the jaw bone.

A human adult skull is made of 22 bones: 8 cranial bones and 14 facial bones. Except for the mandible, where the bones meet are ragged edges called sutures. When you are born, these skull bones are only loosely held together allowing them to move. This allows the head to compress during birth, and then to expand as the baby grows. After about 12 to 18 months these bones fuse together forming the hard, protective skull.

The eight bones forming the cranium include one frontal bone, two parietal bones, one occipital bone, one sphenoid bone, two temporal bones and one ethmoid bone.

Skull - Lateral or Side View
Skull - Lateral or Side View

The main facial bones include the two nasal bone, two inferior nasal conchae, two lacrimal bones, two palatine bones, two zygomatic bone, one vomer bone, two maxilla and one mandible.

The skull contains openings for the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. These holes not only provide protect, but in the case of the eyes, provide a socket for rotation.

The maxilla is the fusion of two bones and forms the upper jaw. The maxilla attaches to the zygomatic or cheek bones. The maxilla holds the upper teeth. The mandible is also known as the lower jaw. It holds the lower teeth. The mandible is connected to the upper part of the skull by two jaw joints. These jaw joints allow you to open and close your mouth.

Skull and Cervical Spine - Lateral or Side View
Skull and Cervical Spine - Lateral or Side View
The skull connects to the first cervical vertebra or atlas on the upper end of the cervical spine. A series of muscles and ligaments attached to and surround the atlas. This allows for the normal up, down and rotational head movement.

 

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