The Human Skull
The human skull is composed of cranial bones that forms a vault for the precious brain and the facial bones that gives origin to the muscles of facial expressions and gives buttresses protecting the brain. To correct some of the misunderstandings that many people have, when we say skull it can actually be broken down into two regions, the face and the cranial section. The human skull consists of 22 bones, 8 cranial and 14 facial bones. Except for the temporomandibular joint which is a synovial joint, all of the bones in the skull are connected by immovable fibrous tissues.
In the medical world, the word occipital is related to the word occiput which means back or the posterior part. This bone specializes in protecting the brain from the back. It forms something like of a trapezoid shape at the back of the cranium. An opening at the base of the occipital bone allows the connection of the brain to the spinal cord. This opening is called the foramen magnum. The region above the foramen magnum is one of the parts of the occipital bone called the squamous part. The sides of the foramen magnum are called the lateral parts and the region anterior the opening or the foramen magnum is referred to as the basilar part. Those parts comprise the three regions of the occipital bone.
There are actually 2 parietal bones, one on either side of the cranium. The two parietal bones protect the brain from the side and actually encompasses to include the roof of the brain. It is connected to the frontal bone by the coronal suture; the squamous suture connects the parietal bone to the temporal bon. The lambdoidal suture connects the parietal bones to the occipital bone and the sagittal suture connects both parietal bones.
The frontal bone specializes in protecting the brain from the front side of the cranium. Lay people refer to the frontal bone as the forehead or squama frontalis as what is referred to by medical professionals. Another part of this bone is the pars orbitals.
The orbit is composed of seven bones and is home to the eyes and related muscles, the vessels and the nerves. The most delicate of the skull bones is the medial orbital wall. Some may ask where the nose belongs, but the nose is not made up of bone but of cartilage therefore it is not part of the bony skull.
The temporal bone is composed of four regions, namely the tympanic portion, petrous portion, mastoid portion and the squama temporalis. The main function of the temporal bone is to protect the brain from the side and the base of the cranium.
The perpendicular plate of the ethmoid bone contribute significantly to the nasal septum. The ethmoid bone, a cube shape bone is found at the top of the cavity of the nose and in between the orbits. This bone has a specific task of protecting the organs at proximity to it.
Appearing like a shape of a butterfly, the sphenoid bone can be found in the middle of the skull behind the sockets of the eyes. It is concerned with protecting the pituitary gland and other organs close to this bone.
Comparable to how misunderstood our brain is, the thirst for knowledge has led man an inch closer in understanding the structures guarding it. The skull is guarding the brain for a reason, the hardest bone is covering the most important organ of the body.