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Part of the axial endoskeleton inside the head where it incloses and protects the brain
Most complex of all the parts of the endoskeleton = derived from different sources
Three Components
1. Chondocranium = original cartilaginous brain case which ossifies as cartilage bone and
is the termed the nuerocranium
2. Dermatocranim = set of dermal bones that become attached to the surface of the
3. Splanchnocranium = series of endoskeletal arches that originally acted as gill supports

A. The Cartilage Stage of the Skull

1. Chondocranium of the Dogfish

Cartilaginous mass without divisions or sutures, broad and flat above, narrower and more
irregular below
Rostrum anterior troughlike region
Dorsal Surface
1. Precerebral cavity large cavity in the rostrum
2. Precebral Fenestra where the precerebral cavity is continuous postreriorly
opening into the cranial cavity
Ventral and Lateral Surface
1. Rostral Carina midventral keel
2. Oval Fenestra on each side of the rear end of the keel
Nasal Capsule each side at the base of the rostrum
1. Rounded, thin-walled structures whose dorsal wall is continuous by a way of
ridge Antorbital Process
2. Supraorbital Crest thick projecting shelf of the antorbital process
3. Postorbital Process projection end of the crest
4. Foramina row of openings at the base of the supraorbital crest for the
passage of the superficial ophthalmic branches of the facial nerve
5. Epiphyseal Foramen opening in the median line behind the rostrum trough
which the epiphysis or pineal body (a brain projection)
6. Endolymphatic Fossa rounded depression in the median line behind the
level of the postorbital processes with two openings for the passage of the
endolymph and perilymph of the internal ear
a. Ducts (endolymph and perilymph) connect the fluid-filled channels
of the ear with the skull surface
b. Foramen magnum terminal opening behind this fossa through
which brain continues into the spinal cord
Ventral and Lateral Surfaces
1. External naris ventral directed opening divided into two by a cartilaginous
2. Optic foramen passage of the optic nerve
3. Basitrabecular Process articulation for the orbital process of the lower jaw

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4. Basal Plate broad flat region of the chondocranium behind the
basitrabecular process with its median streak = notochord
5. Occipital Condyle posterior end of the basal plate projecting slightly on
either side of the notochord
Orbit depression in the middle of the sides of the chondocranium holding the eye
Otic Capsule region on each side behind the orbits
Massive region to each side of the endolymphatic fossa

B. The Splanchnocranium

1. Introduction
Part of the endoskeleton which supports the gills and furnishes attachment for respiratory
Called visceral skeleton = because gills are part of the wall of the digestive tract and the
mesoderm in which the visceral skeleton develops is the splanchnic mesoderm, not the
sclerotomal mesoderm
Consists of a longitudinal series of crescentic elements situated in the pharyngeal wall
between the gill slits
Gill Arch = each element or called the skeletal visceral arch (typically 7)

2. The Visceral Skeleton of the Dogfish

3. Palatoquadrate attachments and Jaw Suspension

Jaws are attached to the skull for support and strength
Four Attachement of the Palatoquadrate
Basal Process
1. Identical with the orbital process of elasmobranchs
2. Articulated to projections of the chondocranial case termed basitrabecular
3. Palatobasal Articulation most important of the palatoquadrate attachments
4. Elasmobranchs, tetrapods
Otic Process
1. Upward projection of the rear end of the palatoquadrate for attachment to the
otic region
2. Becomes quadrate bones in tetrapods
Pterygoid/Ethmoid Process
1. Projection of the anterior end of the palatoquadrate making contact with or
fused with the ethmoid region of the skull
2. Fishes and Apmhibians
Ascending Process
1. In front of the otic process and lateral to the basal process
2. Dipnoi and Tetrapods = where it becomes the epipterygoid bone
Five types of Jaw Suspension
1. Orbital and otic process of the palatoquadrates attached by ligaments to the
2. Hyoid arch attached to chondocranium and lower jaw by ligaments
3. Primitive elasmobranchs
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1. Both jaws suspended from the chondocranium by way of ligamentous
attachments to the hyomandibular, which is attached to the otic region
2. Attachment by basal or other processes of the palatoquadrate may also be
3. Dogfish
1. Processes of the palatoquadrate articulated to or fused with the
2. Hyoid arch does not participate in jaw suspension
3. Most Vertebrates
4. Most Primitive
1. Palatoquadrates are indistinguishably fused to the chondocranium and support
the lower jaw in the quadrate region
1. Palatoquadrates suspended principally from the otic capsule by way of hyoid
2. Ethmoid or other attachments may also occur
1. Do not fall under any category but is derived from autostylic suspension
2. Lowe jaw articulates to the skull by the way of dermal bone (squamosal and

C. The Dermatocranium

1. Origin of the dermal bones of the Skull

Elements appear in bony fishes as the enlarged scales of the head region
Large scales gradually sink into the head and apply themselves closely to the chondocranium
and mandibular arch
Roof and sides completed by fishes superficial bones of the skull
Scales also incase the palatoquadrate and Meckelian cartilage (primitive upper and lower
jaw) superficial bones of the jaw
Hence, chondocranium and jaws become sheathed in dermal scales, originating in the skin
and thus, belonging to the exoskeleton dermal, membrane, investing bone
developing directly from the mesenchyme

2. Demonstration of the separate origin of Chondocranium and Dermal Bones

Chondocranium from cartilage
Dermal bones from dermal scales

D. The Formation of the Cartilage Bones of the Skull and the Composition of the Complete Skull

1. Cartilage Bones ossified in the Chondocranium Proper

Occipital Group
Consists typically of four bones at the rear end of the skull, encircling the foramen
1. Supraoccipital = above
2. Exoccipitals = one on each side (2)
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3. Basiooccipital = below
Occipital condyle = prominent projection of the occipital region by which the
skull articulates with the atlas
1. Number Differences
a. One Fishes and Primitive Tetrapods
b. Two Amphibians and Mammals
Posterior Sphenoid Group
Consists of a median bone and a pair of lateral bones ossified in the rear parts of
the orbital cartilages and trabeculae
1. Basisphenoid = in the cranial floor in front of the basioccipital
2. Pleurosphenoid = either side of the basissphenoid forming the rear wall of
the orbit in reptiles and birds; absent in mammals
Epipterygoids pair of bones occupying this skull region derived from the
palatoquadrate cartilage
Orbitosphenoid Region
More or less unossified in tetrapods
Bones may ossify in this mass forming the walls of the cranial cavity containing
the olfactory lobes
1. Presphenoid
a. In front of the basisphenoid
b. Arises from paired ossification in mammals
2. Orbitosphenoid
a. Flanks on each side of the presphenoid
3. Mesethmoid
a. Unpaired ossification in the internal septum in front of the presphenoid
Ethmoid or nasal region in the chondocranium always remain more or less

2. Cartilage Bones ossified in the Sense Capsules

In the Otic or Auditory Capsules
Otic bones naturally associated with the occipital group and often fused
Five Otic bones
1. Prootic
2. Epiotic
3. Ophistotic
4. Pterotic
5. Sphenotic
First three = constant in higher vertebrates = fused = Periotic/Petromastoid Bone
In the Optic Capsules
Do not fuse with the skull = retaining free eye movements
Becomes the sclerotic cartilage in most vertebrates
Scelorotic bone = surrounds the pupil in reptiles and birds
In the Nasal Capsule
Turbinals or conchae
1. Principal products of the lateral walls of the olfactory capsule
2. Scrolled bones in the side walls of the nasal passages
3. Best developed = mammals=good sense of smell
3. Cartilage Bones ossified in the Gill Arches
In the Palatoquadrate Cartilage

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Dorsal halves of the mandibular arch = primitive upper jaw
In Tetrapods
1. Epipterygoid
a. Ossified in the ascending process
b. So called alisphenoid of mammals
2. Quadrate
a. Ossified in the otic process
b. Usually becomes the integral = immovable part of the auditory region
of the skull = condition called monimostylic
c. Some vertebrates=movable=steptostylic
In Meckels Cartilage
Lower halves of the mandibular arch = primitive lower jaw
Similar in history to palatoquadrate
In vertebrates
1. Articular bones
a. Principal bone ossified
b. Articulates with the quadrate to form the suspension of the lower jaw
= autostylic = all tetrapods except mammals
c. Anterior Mentomeckelian bone = in amphibians
In the Hyoid and Gill Arches
Hyomandibular Arch
1. Dorsal part of the hyoid arch
2. Ossifies into a bone Hyomandibula (bony fishes)
3. Suspensor of the lower jaw = Hylostylic
4. In tetrapods = Hyomandibula Columella of the ear
Hyobranchial Skeleton
1. Rest of the hyoid arch in tetrapods
2. Consists of:
a. Hyoid Apparatus
- Plate or rod of cartilage or bone in the throat
- Support for the tongue and larynx, muscle attachment
b. Larynx
- Chamber at the top of the windpipe whose walls are
supported by cartilages derived from the gill arches

4. The Dermal Bones of the Skull and Jaws

Skull Roof
Never any cartilage bones in the skull
Completely Roofed with openings
1. Nostrils = Nares
a. Nasals
b. Frontals
c. Parietals
d. Postparietals
2. Eyes = Orbits
a. Lacrimal
b. Prefrontal
c. Postfrontal
d. Postorbital

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3. Pineal Body = Parietal Foramen
a. Intertemporal
b. Supratemporal
c. Tubular
In reptiles
1. Supratemporal Fossa = between parietal and squamosal = upper
a. Only this = Synapsid
2. Infratemporal Fossa = between squamosal and Jugal = lower
a. Only this = Parapsid
3. Both = Diapsid
Upper jaw
Fused to the skull in tetrapods
Dermal bone which sheath the palatoquadrate cartilage become the marginal
bones of the skull Maxillary Arch
Dermal bones in nares caudally arrangesd
1. Premaxilla
2. Maxilla
3. Jugal
4. Quadratojugal
Skulls ventral surface = sheathed in dermal bones concealing the cartilage bones
of the true floor of the cranial cavity = form the roof of the mouth cavity = Palate
Completely roofed except for internal nares
Typical Palatal bones starting from the internal nares
1. Median Region
a. Paired premovers
b. Paied pterygoid
c. Unpaired Parashpenoid
2. Lateral region
a. Palatines
b. Ectopterygoids
3. Vomer (in mammalian skull) represent parasphenoid in lower forms
Lower Jaw
Also sheathed in membrane bones but with one cartilage bone = Articular =
exposed at the rear end
Primitive tetrapod dermal bones
1. Outer Surface
a. Dentary
b. Splenial
c. Postsplenial
d. Angular
e. Surangular (Supraangular)
2. Inner Surface
a. Prearticular
b. Three Coronoids
- Coronoid
- Intercoronoid
- Precoronoid

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1. Evolution = only the Dentary remained
2. Both articular and quadrate reduced to bones of middle ear = articulation of
the lower jaw with the skull between Dentary and Squamosal
Other Gill Arches
No dermal bones in connection with the Hyoid or Branchial Arches

E. The Mammalian Skull

1. Distinguishing Features of the Mammalian Skull

Completely Ossified = except for small parts of ethmoid region
With Facial region (snout) and enlarged Cranial region (contains the brain)
Number of bones greatly reduced
Other Characteristic Features:
Formation of secondary palate
Presence of a temporal fossa confluent with the orbit
Greater differentiation of the internal ear
Reduction of quadrate and articular to middle ear bones
Jaw articulation between squamosal and dentary
Loss of all lower jaw bones except dentary

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2. General Features and Regions of the Skull
Facial region
Supports the nose and eyes
Anterior End
1. Two external nares separated by a cartilaginous partition = septum of the
Side of the facial region
1. Orbit separated by bony projections from the temporal fossa behind it
a. Zygomatic arch = projecting arch at the lower boundary of the
temporal fossae
b. Bounded posteriorly by two Postoribital Process
- One projecting dorsally from the middle of the Zygomatic
- One descending from the roof of the skull
c. Supraorbital Arch = projecting margin above the orbit in which the
posterior end forms the postorbital process
Cranial region
Incloses the brain and including the middle and internal nares
Posterior End
1. Foramen Magnum
2. Occiptal Condyle = projections on each side of the foramen magnum
articulating with the atlas
3. Tympanic bulla = lateral and slightly anterior to occipital condyle containing
the middle ear with two processes
a. Mastoid Process anterior process with a petromastoid process
containing the inner ear
b. Jugular Process posterior process
c. Opens laterally by an external auditory meatus
4. Lamboidal Ridge = most anterior part of attachment of the muscles of the
vertebral column
5. External Occipital Protrubence = projects posteriorly from the middle of
the lamboidal ridge
Ventral Surface
Anterior Surface
1. Hard Palate = occupies the anterior part
2. Internal nares of choanae opening or nasal passages
3. Incisive foramina opening of hard palate leading to nasal cavities
4. Mandibular fossa depression at the posterior end of zygomatic arch for
reception of lower jaw
5. Pterygoid fossa medial to mandibular fossa for attachment of certain

3. Dermal Bones of the roof of the Skull

Beginning from the external nares
Nasals = roofing the nasal cavities
Frontals = forms the supraorbital arch and postorbital process
1. Interparietal bone between parietal homologous to postparietals

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Lacrimal bone = anterior wall of the orbit with nasolacrimal duct = by which
tears drain into nasal cavity

4. The Bones of the Upper Jaw and Palate

Maxillary arch
Premaxilla = ventral, anterior, bearing teeth
1. Sends dorsally a frontal process along the nasal bones
2. Forms the anterior part of hard palate by means of palatine process
Maxilla = side of the facial region, bearing teeth
1. Main bone of facial region
2. Forms the anterior wall of the orbit = orbital process
3. Extend to the frontal bone = frontal process
4. Meets with the hard palate = palatine process
5. Bears teeth = alveolar process
6. Beginning of zygomatic arch = zygomatic process
Malar or Jugal = forming most of the zygomatic arch
Temporal = completing the zygomatic arch and covers the cranial part
1. Compound bone characteristic of mammals
2. Consists of:
a. Squamous Portion = zygomatic process completes the zygomatic
arch ; homologous to squamosal bone of lower vertebrates
b. Completes the cranial wall
c. Tymapnic bulla of uncertain homology
d. Periotic or Periomastoid Bone = fused otic bones of lower
Palatal region
Distinguished by formation of secondary palate
Anterior part
1. Palatine Process of Maxilla and Premaxilla
2. Vomer = forms the base of the nasal septum
3. Deep Cleft at the midventral line
Lower jaw articulates with the squamosal(temporal) by means of a depression = mandibular
fossa = distinguishes mammalian skull

5. The Occipital region

Surrounds the foramen magnum
Consists of a single occipital bone extending from the lamboidal ridge to the anterior ends
of the tympanic bulla
Bears two occipital condyles
Includes the lamboidal ridge and the jugular process of the tympanic bulla

6. The Otic Capsules and the Middle Ear

Fused together (otic bones) and fused with the squamosal and tympanic bulla forming =
temporal bone = characteristic of mammalian skull
1. Periotic or Periomastoid Bone = part of temporal bone composed of otic
2. Mastoid = between bulla and occipital

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3. Tympanum = tympanic part forming the wall of tympanic cavity containing
middle ear and auditory ossicles
a. Hammer enlarged head and slender handle
b. Anvil smaller bone with two pointed processes
c. Stirrup shaped like a stirrup

7. The Posterior Sphenoid Region

Basisphenoid ventral, in front of occipital
Alisphenoid wings of basisphenoid and extend dorsally end forward as the pterygoid
Hamulus process of the pterygoid process

8. The Anterior Sphenoid Region

Median region in front of the basispehnoid
Send wings into the orbit which meet the frontal bones above
Contain the optic foramen for passage of optic nerve
Homologous to orbitosphenoids of lower tetrapods
Ossifies from two centers
In Man = SPHENOID = basi- + ali- + pre- + orbitospehnoid

9. The Ethmoid Region and the Sagittal Section of the Skull

Cerebellar Fossa
most posterior cavity inclosed by occipital and temporal bones
marked by ridge or shelf bone = tentorium
Lateroventral part = two openings = petrous part of petromastoid bone and
incloses the inner ear
Cerebral Fossa
Greater Part
Walls formed by frontal, parietal, temporal
Floor formed by sphenoids
1. In the Basisphenoid = Selle turcica (saddle-shaped depression)
2. In the Presphenoid = Sphenoidal sinus
Anterior part of frontal = Frontal Sinus
Anterior end of cranial cavity = Olfactory Fossa separated by a vertical plate of
bone = Cribriform Plate
Nasal Cavities
Inclosed by cartilage bones and partyl by dermal bones
Roof = nasal bones + frontal bones
Separated by a median vertical bony partition = Perpendicular Plate
Vomer = elongated bone dorsal to maxillae and palatines where the septum meets
the nasal and frontal bones
Turbinated Bones or Chonchae = half of the skull where septum is missing
Ethmoturbinal or Ethmoid Labyrinth
1. Most posterior situated just in front of the cribriform plate
2. Covered with olfactory epithelium
1. Infront of ethmoturbinal borne on the inner surface of maxilla
2. Moisten and strain inspired air
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1. Single elongated bony ledge lying above the uppermost scrolls of the
ethmoturbinals occurring on the inner surface of the maxilla
2. Moisten and strain inspired air
Function of turbinals = increase respiratory and olfactory surface of the nose

10. The Foramina of the Skull

Incisive foramina
Anterior end of ventral side of maxilla
Fxn = connect roof of mouth with nasal cavities
Infraorbital Foramen
Large opening in the maxilla at the beginning of zygomatic arch
Fxn = passage of 5th cranial nerve and blood vessels
Nasolacrimal Canal
Anterior end of the lacrimal bone
Fxn = draining of tears
Sphenopalatine Foramen
Part of palatine bone extending into the orbit
Posterior to lacrima
Fxn = passage of 5th nerve and nasal cavity
Posterior Palatine Canal
Posterior end ventral to Spenopalatine Foramen
Anterior end middle of the palatine process of maxilla
Fxn = passage of 5th nerve to the palate
Optic Foramen
Posterior part of the orbit
Most anterior of the 4
Fxn = passage of optic nerve
Orbital Fissure
2nd and largest of the 4
Fxn = passage of 3rd, 4th and 6th nerves to the muscles of the eyeball and part of
the 5th
Foramen Rotundum
3rd of the row
Fxn = in the alisphenoid bone, transmits part of the 5th nerve
Foramen Ovale
Last of the four
Fxn = in the alisphenoid, transmits part of the 5th nerve
Canal for the auditory tube
Anterior wall of bulla, its roof formed by the alisphenoid
Fxn = passage of auditory tube from the pharynx to the bulla
Pterygoid Canal
Pointed by styliform process
Suture between basisphenoid and pterygoid process
Fxn = passage of 5th nerve into the bulla
Jugular Foramen
Medial side of the posterior end of the bulla
Fxn = passage of the 9th, 10th and 11th nerves

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Hypoglossal Foramen
Medial side of the preceding foramen
Fxn = passage of the 12th nerve
Stylomastoid Foramen
Ventral lip of the mastoid process
Fxn = passage of the 7th nerve
Internal Auditory Meatus
Opening in the center of the petromastoid bone
Fxn = passage of the auditory nerve into the brain

11. The Lower Jaw

Also called mandible
Consist of the following:
Dentaries Single Pair, fused in front by a symphysis
Mandible horizontal part
1. Coronoid Process posterior end of the mandible extending dorsally
projecting dorsally into the temporal fossa
2. Condyloid Process articulating surface of the mandible
3. Depressed Areas (posterior part) - for insertion of the muscles of
4. Mental Foramen near the anterior part of the mandible on the outer surface
through which the nerve of the lower jaw exists
5. Mandibular Foramen near the caudal end of the inner surface of the
mandible through which the nerve enters and pursues a course in the interior
of the mandible to the mental foramen
Ramus vertical part
Articulation of the lower jaw to skull is between the dentary and the squamosal
This distinguishes mammals from all other vertebrates (where articulation is
between the articular and the quadrate

12. The Teeth

Teeth of mammals
Consists of the following
Incisors Six small simple teeth at the tip of the jaws
Canine Long, sharp simple teeth on either side of the incisors
1. At the back on each side are four teeth (upper jaw) and three teeth (lower jaw)
having more than one cusp (pointed projection)
a. Premolars First three (Upper), First two (Lower)
b. Molars Last one (Upper), Last one (Lower)
Upper Incisors borne on the premaxilla
Diastema - gap between the canines and the premolars

13. The Hyoid Apparatus

Remnant of Hyoid and other Gill Arches
Consists of the following

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Body/Basihyal bony bar placed in the root of the tongue just in front of the
Anterior Horns
1. Hypohyal
2. Ceratohyal
3. Stylohyal
4. Tympanohyal attached to the tympanic bulla just ventral to the
stylomastoid foramen
Posterior Horns
1. Thyrohyal attached to the larynx
Hyoid Arch Body + Anterior Horn
Third Gill Arch Posterior Horn
Remaining gill arches are represented in the cartilages of the larynx

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