Sometimes it is beneficial to have a shield, especially if they protect you from lethal damage, just as in the case of the human brain, which without the protection of the bones that cover the head would be totally exposed to irreversible damage and therefore, it would be the end of our existence.
That is the importance of the bones in our body, not only are they our support (since we cannot even stand upright being only muscles) but they are our wall against impacts.
But are the bones of our head even more important? There is no way to determine which bones have a higher priority in the human body, because the whole skeleton has the same purpose and that is to protect the internal organs so that we can survive outside. But the skull has a plus and that is that it helps the complete formation of the brain in a correct way, as well as protecting it.as well as protecting it.
And that is exactly what we will discuss in this article, you will see what are the bones of the skull and its main functions.You will learn about every aspect of this natural human armor.
What are the cranial bones?
There is a small but important distinction to be made in this section about what make up the cranial bones and the facial bones, as they are not the same.
To begin with, the skull is the natural bony protection that the human body has to protect the brain, which is why it is only found in the upper region of the head. Whereas, the lower parts are considered facial bones, which connect to the skull and support all the organs and muscles of the head.
What do they look like together? Well, it is the classic image that we can see to identify pirates or dangerous things, that is, a skull. Precisely because it is difficult to separate them, at least visually, these bones of the head have been divided into two sections:
Bones of the neurocraniumwhich is the skull in its entirety, i.e., the bones that cover the encephalon.
Bones of the viscerocraniumwhich comprises the rest of the lower bones (jaws, ears, nose and eye sockets).
Bones of the skull and head: anatomy and functions.
Here we will learn not only about the bones that cover the brain, but also explore a little more about the lower bones of the head.
Bones of the neurocranium
As we have already mentioned, these are the bones that protect the brain as a whole, but they are found only at the top of our heads.They are found only in the upper part of our heads.
1.1. Frontal bone
This bone is located in the frontal region of the brain and gives the shape of the forehead to the head. It extends just before the eye sockets, so it is also the bridge that connects the neurocranial bones with those of the viscerocranium. Its main function is to protect the frontal region of the brain and thus ensure that we possess all the capacities of reasoning and mental executive functions.
1.2. Occipital bone
This is located at the opposite pole, so it is at the back of the head protecting the occipital region of the brain. It extends from the posterior superior part of the skull (where the frontal bone ends) to the nape of the neck, forming a concave cavity whose function is to protect the cerebellum, the brainstem, part of the occipital and parietal lobes, thus protecting most of the motor capacities.
1.3. Temporal bones
These are two bones located on each side of the skull, below the parietal bones and whose purpose is to protect the temporal lobes. They are joined to the rest of the skull by the coronary (frontal), squamous (parietal) and lambdoid (occipital) sutures. They are in charge of giving greater functioning to the capacity of auditory language and speech comprehension, as well as protecting auditory perception.
1.4. Parietal bones
In the same way as the previous one, they are two bones located on both sides of the head, but this time in the upper part forming the crown and its surroundings, they present a symmetry between them and are welded together. Its functions divide it into three zones:
Squamous zoneThe squamous zone, where it protects part of the cerebral cortex and therefore the processes of creativity and imagination, perception and judgment.
Mastoid zonewhich protects part of the jaw and neck.
Petral areawhich is catalogued as the base of the skull since it is located in a very deep area and is in charge of part of the auditory functions.
It is located behind the nose, in the inner part of the face, specifically between the sphenoid and the nasal bone, its morphology has a rough texture and has several cavities, including the eye sockets and nostrils. Acting in turn as the separator between the two and as a connecting bridge with the meninges.
This bone is considered by many as the cornerstone of the skull base and has a very particular shape as it resembles a butterfly. It is located at the level of the temple and extends from side to side of the skull, horizontally. It is also connected to the frontal, temporal and occipital bones, thus maintaining the major junction of the cranial bones.
2. Bones of the Viscerocranium
In this section you will learn about the rest of the bones that make up the head, i.e., those found in the frontal, temporal and occipital bones.that is to say, those found in the lower part of the skull.
It is perhaps the most peculiar bone of all in the head, since it is the only one that has the ability to move, has a base and two lateral branches attached to the temporal bones. The lower teeth and the buccal structure develop in the maxilla, which is why it has one of the major functions: speech and the ability to chew.
It is a single irregular, short and compact bone in the skull and is located in the central part of the face, from the upper part of the mouth to the base of the nostrils. It is the base on which the upper dentition develops and in turn is the base of the rest of the bones of the viscerocranium.
This is an extension of the maxillary bone and has greater depth with the surface of the face. It forms the roof of the mouth and serves as a support for the internal tissues.
This is located behind the maxilla as a thin vertical sheet and below the nose, so it collaborates with the formation of the nasal septum.
2.5. Nasal bones
They are two small bones that are joined together, in the middle of the face, forming the nasal septum and cartilage, thus protecting the nose.
2.6. Inferior nasal concha
Also known as the inferior nasal turbinate, it is located behind the nostrils. It has a spongy, sticky consistency that supports the tissues lining the nasal mucosa and blood vessels and allows air to enter the nose.
2.7. Lacrimal bones
These are also two small structures, located behind the maxillary bone more specifically in the eye sockets and, as their name indicates, their main function is to provide a pathway for tears to flow from the eye to the nasal cavity.
2.8. Zygomatic bones
These are the bones that make up the cheekbones, so they have a rhomboid shape, located in the lower part of the eye sockets. It becomes a meeting point for the muscles involved in mastication and the physical support of the eyes.
2.9. Ossicles of the ear
These three small bones of the ear are also part of the viscerocranium, although they do not have a supporting function or structure, like the rest of the bones of the head. However, they deserve a special mention due to the functions they fulfill. These are the smallest bones of the entire human body and are specialized in transmitting vibrations, which is one of the most important functions of all.
As they are in charge of capturing vibrations, we can have the ability to interpret the wave patterns captured by the eardrum and received by the inner ear, through electrical signals that reach the auditory nerves and travel through the brain, finally transforming the information received into the different sounds we hear.
As you can see the head is one of the most complex structures in the entire human body, with bases that are both solid and delicate at the same time, because they must have the strength of protection but enough flexibility to mold each shape of the viscerocranial and neurocranial bones.