Human Skull: Description and Structure

Human Skull


Human skull is the skeletal framework of the top of vertebrates which is composed of bones or cartilage, which form a unit that protects the brain and a few sense organs. The upper jawbone, but not the lower, is a component of the skull. The human cranium, the part that contains the brain, is globular and comparatively large as compared with the face. In most other animals the facial portion of the skull, including the upper teeth and therefore the nose, is larger than the cranium. In humans the skull is supported by the very best vertebra, called the atlas, permitting nodding motion. The atlas activates the next-lower vertebra, the axis, to permit for side-to-side motion. The sole other bone within the head is the hyoid.

The skull communicates with the vertebrae at the extent of the occipital foramen

Human skull structure

The human skull measures on the average 21 to 22 centimeters long and 17 centimeters wide. Considered a bone in its title, it’s actually made from eight bones that bonded together during childhood. The sutures also are still visible in adulthood.

Human skull is mainly divided into two parts namely;

  1. The cranium which functions in protecting the brain
  2. The facial bones

Cranial bones of human skull

Cranial Bones of the skull

The cranium of the human skull consists of eight bones which are

  • One Occipital bone located at the rear and at the lower base of the skull which contains the opening allowing the reference to the vertebrae
  • two Parietal bones, located laterally and high
  • two Temporal bones, located under the parietal bones
  • One Frontal bone, located at the front of the skull
  • And the two bones, Sphenoid and Ethmoid, more internal, participate within the formation of the sinus cavity

Facial bones of the skull

Facial bones of the skull

Human skull consists of fourteen facial bones which form the skeleton of the face including;

  • Two Nasal bones
  • Two Maxilla
  • Two Lacrimal bones
  • A pair of Zygomatic
  • Two Palatines
  • Two Inferior Nasal Concha 
  • One Vomer 
  • And one mandible which is mobile

Some other small, functional bones of skull, including the ear bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) for hearing.

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