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Axial skeleton

80 bones, supports and protects, muscle attachment for: movement of head/neck/trunk, respiration, stabilize and position the appendicular skeleton

Cranial Bones

8 bones

Facial bones

14 bones of the skull which protect and support the eyes, ears, nose and mouth

Thoracic cage

consists of thoracic vertebrae, the ribs and the sternum; protects the heart, lungs, thymus and other structures within the cavity; serves as an attachment site for muscles involved in respiration, positioning vertebral column, movements of the pectoral girdle and upper limb


the bony structure units of the spinal column (26)


lower posterior region of the head/skull

occipital condyles

projections of the occipital bone that articulate with lateral masses of the first cervical vertebra

foramen magnum

large opening in occipital bone that allows spinal cord to attach to brain

occipital protuberance

a bump that extends out from the occipital bone


the two bones forming the sidewalls and roof of the cranium, lat. superior skull


superior anterior skull, forms roof of orbits

lacrimal fossa

fossa of the frontal bone that contains the lacrimal gland, located just inside the lateral portion of the supraorbital ridge.


inferior lateral skull (temples)

external acoustic canal

ear hole

mastoid process

part of the temporal bone that attaches to some of the muscles of the neck

zygomatic process

part of the temporal bone that forms part of the posterior cheekbone

styloid process

sharp (needle-like) projection from the bottom of the temporal bone


suture that separates occipital from parietal


Suture across top front, between frontal and parietal


suture b/t parietal bones


suture that separates parietal and temporal


butterfly-shaped bone at the base of the skull, articulates with the 7 other cranial bones, most central cranial bone, post. walls of orbits and ant. floor of cranium

sella turcica

bony process on sup. center of sphenoid bone

hypophyseal fossa

"seat of the saddle" part of the sella turcica, holds the Pituitary gland

lesser wings

sphenoid; bat-shaped portions of the spheniod anterior to the sella turcica

greater wings

portions of the sphenoid seen exteriorly anterior to the temporal and forming a part of the eye orbits

optic canals

openings in the bases of the lesser wings through which the optic nerves enter the orbits to serve the eyes


anterior to sphenoid, forms medial wall of orbits, roof of nasal cavity + part of nasal septum

cribriform plate

part of the ethmoid bone that forms the roof of the nasal cavity found in the anterior floor of the cranium

olfactory foramina

openings for olfactory nerves

perpendicular plate

forms the superior part of the nasal septum

superior nasal conchae

scroll shaped projections on the lateral walls of the nasal cavity; they increase vascular & mucus membrane surface area in the nasal cavities, which aids in the snese of smell, and warm, moisten and filter incoming air

middle nasal conchae

scroll-like projection on each lateral wall of nasal cavity


largest facial bones, form upper jaw/ supports upper teeth, forms inferior orbits + hard palate

infraorbital foramen

sensory nerve to face

palatine process

forms the anterior portion of the hard palate (roof) of the mouth also forms parts of the nasal cavity and eye orbits


posterior hard palate


forms the inferior portion of the nasal septum, articulates w/ perpendicular palate

zygomatic bone

cheek bone, lateral walls of orbits

temporal process

Articulates with zygomatic process of the temporal bone to form the zygomatic arch


form the bridge of the nose, attachment site for cartilage of nose


smallest facial bones, form medial walls of orbits

lacrimal sulcus

A groove along the anterior lateral surface of the lacrimal bone


lower jaw bone

mandible body

Main part of the jaw bone, horizontal part, holds lower teeth

mandible ramus

verticle part of jaw.

condylar process

the posterior upward projection of the ramus that fits into the temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge of the mandible

coronoid process

the anterior, non-articulating process of the ramus of the mandible which serves as the insertion for the temporalis muscle.

paranasal sinuses

air cavities within the cranial bones that open into the nasal cavities, lighten skull bones, acts as resonating chambers for voice, produce mucus, wash debris into nasal cavity, prevent debris from entering nasal tract

Maxillary, Frontal, Sphenoid, Ethmoidal

4 types of paranasal sinuses

Vertebral Column

26 bones, support head, limbs and trunk, support upper organs, transfers body weight to lower limbs, protects spinal cord


'neck', 7 vertebrae, C1-C7, supports skull, most flexible region, smallest lightest vertebrae,large vertebral foramen, all have 2 transverse foramen, to support artery


superior back, 12 vertebrae, T1-T12, supports thoracic cage, very little flexibility, larger, thicker bodies, smaller vertebral foramen, inferiorly angled spinous processes, each vertebrae articulates w/ a pair of ribs


inferior back, 5 vertebrae, L1-L5, supports abdominal regions, more flexible than thoracic spine, large oval bodies, small triangular vertebral foramen,very large, short spinous processes


base of spine, 5 fused vertebrae, S1-S5, transfers upper body weight to lower limbs


tail bone, 3-5 fused vertebrae, Co1-Co3-5)

Primary Curves

c curve of spine, during infancy

secondary curves

cervical and lumbar curves after several months, allows for upright posture and even distribution of weight

lordotic curve

spine arches anteriorly, forms cervical and lumbar curves

kyphotic curve

spine arches posteriorly, forms thoracic and sacral spinal curves


part of vertebrae that is the main structure and most anterior part

vertebral arch

posterior part of vertebrae

vertebral foramen

surrounds the spinal cord, formed by body and vertebral arch

spinous process

posterior projection of vert. arch, site of muscle attachment

transverse process

lat. projection of vert. arch,site of muscle attachment

articular facets

articulations b/t vertebrae


no body or spinous process, extra large vertebral foramen (for brain stem), articulates w/ skull at the occipital condyles, forming the atlantoccipital joint , allows for 'yes'


contains dens process- vertical projection of the body, provides pivot for rotation of atlas, articulates w. atlas forming atlanaxial joint, allows for 'no'

ligamentum nuchae

long post. ligament, attaches all spinous process to externa occipital protuberance, provides large area for muscle attachment

intervertebral foramen

openings b/t adjoining vertebrae, allow spinal nerves to exit spinal cavity

intervertebral disc

fibrocartilage pads located b/t discs, cushion vertebrae +absorb shock

annulus fibrosis

outer layer of fribrocartilage of disc

nucleus pulposis

gelatinous inner core of disc

herniated disc

protrusion of a degenerated or fragmented intervertebral disk so that the nucleus pulposus protrudes, causing compression on the nerve root


triang. wedge, 5 vertebrae fused by 25-30 years old, attaches axial skeleton to appendicular skeleton


sup. edge of sacrum


inferior edge of sacrum

median sacral crest

ridge of the fused spinous processes of the sacral vertebrae

sacral canal

continuation of vertebral canal

sacral foramina

Allow the passage of sacral spinal nerves.

articular surface

lateral edge, articulates with pelvis, forms sacroilac joint


most inferior region of vertebral column, attachment site of muscle controlling anus

thoracic cage

consists of thoracic vertebrae, the ribs and the sternum; protects the heart, lungs, thymus and other structures within the cavity; serves as an attachment site for muscles involved in respiration, positioning vertebral column, movements of the pectoral girdle and upper limb


maniubrium (upper part), body, and xhypoid process (lower)+ all parts of the ____.


attachment site for many muscles

costal cartilages

cartilage connecting ribs to sternum

true ribs

direct connection to sternum (1-7)

false ribs

(8-12), indirectly connected to sternum,

floating ribs

11-12, no connection to sternum

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