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The skull is one of the major components of the axial skeleton. Name the other two.

Vertebrae and bony thorax

Skull protects:

the brain

Vertebrae protects:

the spinal column

Bony thorax protects:

thoracic cavity (heart and lungs)

Define suture:

Interlocking joints; immovable joints that connect bones of skull

With one exception, the skull bones are joined by sutures. Name the exception.


What are four major sutures of the skull, and what bones do they connect?

Sagittal- two parietal bones
Coronal- parietals meet frontal bone
Squamous- temporal meets parietal
Lambdoid- temporal meets parietal

Name the eight bones composing the cranium.

Frontal, Ethmoid, Right temporal, Left temporal, Sphenoid, Right parietal, Left parietal, Occipital

Give two possible functions of the sinuses.

Lighten facial bones; act as resonance chambers for speech

What is the orbit?

The bony cavity containing the eyeball

Why can the sphenoid bone be called the keystone of the cranial floor?

The sphenoid boe forms a plateau across the width of the skull.

Bone forming anterior cranium.




Upper jaw
Forms most of the hard palate


Bony skeleton of nose


Posterior roof of mouth


Bone pair united by the sagittal suture


Site of jugular foramen and carotid canal
Site of external auditory meatus


Contains a "saddle" that houses the pituitary gland
Has greater and lesser wings


Allows tear ducts to pass


Superior and medial nasal conchae are part of this bone
Its "holey" plate allows olfactory fibers to pass


Facial bone that contains a sinus


Three cranial bones containing paranasal sinuses

frontal, sphenoid, and ethmoid

Its oval shaped protrusions articulate with the atlas
Spinal cord passes through a large opening in this bone


Not really a skull bone


Forms the chin


Inferior part of nasal septum


Contain alveoli bearing teeth

mandible, maxillary

Are the same skull bones seen in the adult also found in the fetal skull?

No, some areas still remain to be converted to bone.

How does the size of the fetal face compare to its cranium? How does this compare to the adult skull?

Face is smaller
Adult skull is 1/8th total body length whereas the fetal skull is 1/4th total body length

What are the outward conical projections in some of the fetal cranial bones?

These are ossification centers.

What is a fontanel? What is its fate?

Fibrous membranes between the bones of a fetal skull becomes bone by 22 months.

What is the function of the fontanels in the fetal skull?

Allows skull to be compressed during birth and allows for brain growth during late fetal life.

Vertebral type with a forked spinous process

Cervical vertebra

Pivots on C2, Lacks a body


Bear facets for articulation with ribs; form part of bony thoracic cage
Twelve components; unfused

Thoracic vertebra

Forms a joint with the hip bone
Five components; fused


Vertebra with block like body and short stout spinous process
Five components; unfused

Lumbar vertebra

"Tail bone"


Articulates with he occipital condyles


What kind of tissue makes up the intervertebral discs?


What is a herniated disc? What problems might it cause?

A slipped disc; protruding cartilage from vertebra.
Pain and numbness

The major components of the thorax (excluding the vertebral column) are the

Sternum, and ribs

What is the general shape of the thoracic cage?

Cone shaped

Why is the clavicle at risk to fracture when a person falls on his or her shoulder?

It is a slender bone.

Why is there generally no problem in the arm clearing the widest dimension of the thoracic cage?

The clavicle serves as a brace to hold the arm away from the top of the thorax.

What is the total number of phalanges in the hand?


What is the total number of carpals in the wrist?


Compare the pectoral and pelvic girdles in terms of flexibility, security, and ability to bear weight.

Flexibility: pectoral- more flexible
Security: Pelvic- more secure
Weight-bearing ability: pelvic- able to bear weight

What organs are protected, at least in part, by the pelvic girdle?

Reproductive organs, urinary bladder, and part of the large intestine

Distinguish between the true pelvis and false pelvis.

False pelvis- superior; supports abdominal viscera
True pelvis- inferior; limits delivery of baby

What does fallen arches mean?

The ligaments and tendons are weakened, allowing bones to "fall"

4 steps of bone repair.

1. Hematoma forms
2. The break is splinted by a fibrocartilage callus
3. The bony callus forms
4. Bone remodeling occurs

Frontal bone

forms the forehead, the bony projections under the eyebrows and the superior part of each eyes orbit

Temporal Bones

inferior to parietal bones

Body or centrum of vertebra

disclike, weight bearing part of the vertebra facing anteriorly in the vertebral column

Vertebral arch

arch formed from the joining of all posterior extensions, the laminae and pedicles, from the vertebral body

Vertebral foramen

canal through which the spinal cord passes

transverse processes

two lateral projections from the vertebral arch

Spinous process

single projection arising from the posterior aspect of the vertebral arch

Superior and inferior articular processes

paired projections lateral to the vertebral foramen, allowing a vertebra to form joints with adjacent vertebrae


immovable joints


slightly movable joints


freely movable joints

fibrous joints

united by fibrous tissue, sutures of the skull

cartilaginous joints

bone ends are connected by cartilage, amphiartrotic joints- spinal column, ribs, and pelvis

synovial joints

joints in which the articulating bone ends are separated by a joint cavity containing synovial fluid

Comminuted fracture

bone breaks into many fragments
Common in older people whose bones are brittle

Compression fracture

Bone is crushed
Common in porous bones

Depressed fracture

broken bone portion is pressed inward
Typical of skull fracture

Impacted fracture

broken bone ends are forced into each other
commonly occurs when one attempts to break a fall with outstretched arms

Spiral fracture

ragged break occurs when excessive twisting forces are applied to a bone

Greenstick fracture

bone breaks incompletely, much in the way a green twig breaks

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