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The Adult Skull

skull = 22 bones
cranium = 8 bones: frontals, occipital, temporals, parietals, sphenoid and ethmoid
facial bones = 14 bones: nasals, maxillae, zygomatics, mandible, lacrimals, palatines,
inferior nasal conchae, vomer

skull forms a larger cranial cavity

-also forms the nasal cavity, the orbits, paranasal sinuses
mandible and auditory ossicles are the only movable skull bones
skull contains many holes for the passage of nerves and vessels = foramen/foramina
cranial bones also: attach to membranes called meninges
-stabilize positions of the brain, blood vessels
-outer surface provides large areas for muscle attachment that
move the head or provide facial expressions

Norma Verticalis

Norma Frontalis

Norma Occipitalis

Norma Lateralis

Norma Basalis

Skull: Inferior View


Condylar fossa
Condylar foramen
may be present


Skull: Interior View

Figure 6.4 Sectional Anatomy of the
Skull, Part I
Tuberculum sellae

Cerebral surface of
Greater wing of sphenoid

Hypophyseal fossa
Dorsum sella
Lesser wing of sphenoid



The Cranial Cavity

(Coronal, Sagittal &
arachnoid granulations,
middle meningeal aa.,
and superior sagittal

Cranial Fossae
Depressions in
cranial floor
Anterior cranial
Frontal bone,
ethmoid, lesser
wings of sphenoid

Middle cranial
temporal bones,
parietal bones

Posterior cranial

Cranial Fossae

The Cranial Cavity

The Base of skull
1- Anterior Cranial fossa
2- Middle Cranial fossa
3- Posterior Cranial fossa
We should know for each
Formed by? bones
Boundaries? walls
Main Features? foramina

Anterior Cranial Fossa

Formed by: orbital plates of the frontal bone, cribriform plate

of the ethmoid, lesser wing of sphenoid & anterior part of
body of sphenoid.
Boundaries: inner surface of the frontal bone, lesser wings of
the sphenoid on the sides and groove for the optic chiasma.
Contains: the frontal lobes of the brain
Main features:
1. Foramen cecum (emissary vein)
2. Crista Galli (attachment of the falx cerebri)
3. Cribriform plate (olfactory bulbs and the olfactory nerves)

Middle Cranial Fossa

Formed by: median part- body of sphenoid bone

Lateral concavities - greater wing of
sphenoid, squamous and
petrous parts of temporal
Boundaries: Ant. lesser wing of sphenoid
Post. upper border of petrous part of temporal bone
Lat. greater wing of sphenoid, parietal bone and squamous

Middle Cranial Fossa

Features: (7 foramina, median part, petrous part of temporal

1- Optic Canal: (ophthalmic a. & optic nerve) to the orbit.
2- Superior orbital fissure: (superior ophthalmic vein, lacrimal,
frontal, nasocilliary, Abducent, Oclomotor & Trochlear nerves)
to the orbital cavity.
3- Foramen rotundum: (maxillary branch of Trigeminal (V)
nerve) to the pterygo-palatine fossa.

Middle Cranial Fossa

Features: (7 foramina, median part, petrous part of temporal

5- Foramen spinosum: (middle meningeal artery)
6- Foramen lacerum:
Upper opening (Open - Internal Carotid Artery)
Lower opening (Closed cartilage & fibrous tissue)
7- Carotid Canal: (Internal Carotid Artery).

Middle Cranial Fossa

Features: (7 foramina, median part, petrous part of temporal

The petrous part of temporal bone:
Medial groove for greater petrosal nerves
Lateral groove for Lesser petrosal nerve
Arcuate eminence: (semicircular canal in inner ear)
Tegmen tympani: (roof mastoid antrum, tympanic cavity and

Middle Cranial Fossa

Features: (7 foramina, median part, petrous part of temporal

The Median part of Middle Cranial Fossa: (body of the
Sulcus Chiasmatis: a groove for optic chiasma.
Tuberculum sellae: (with middle clinoid processes)
Sella Turcica (Turkish saddle): a depression for the pituitary

Cranial fossa contain lumen, or holes for

cranial nerves, arterial supply, and venous

Sphenoid bone

Contributes to floor of cranium

Bridges cranial and facial bones
Optic canal allows passage of optic nerve
Pterygoid processes sites of muscle

Ethmoid Bone

Irregularly shaped bone

Forms part of orbital wall
Forms roof of nasal cavity
Cribriform plate
Perforations for olfactory
Perpendicular plate
Nasal septum