DEFINE – What is the Cranium?
Cranium refers to the skull, specifically relating to it enclosing and protecting the brain.
BREAKING DOWN – The Cranium
Your brain controls everything you do. Without it, you’re not you – nor would you cease to be alive. Something of that stature inevitably requires protection. And that’s exactly what the cranium does.
While the skull is made up of the cranium and mandible, the cranium only encloses the brain. It does not make up the facial structures below.
Eight bones form the cranium. These eight bones include the ethmoid, the sphenoid, the frontal bone, the occipital bone, two temporal bones, and two parietal bones. The ethmoid bone is the small piece that separates your brain from your nasal cavity. It’s very lightweight and also makes up part of the orbit of your eyes.
The sphenoid bone sits in front of the skull before the temporal bone. This bone, along with the ethmoid bone, also contributes to the forming of the orbit of the eyes. The frontal bone is the other piece that makes up the top of the orbit area. It also creates the top of the nose and protects the front of the brain.
The occipital bone is located at the lower back of the cranium. This bone is very important in that it has a hole specifically for the medulla to pass through to the vertebral canal. The temporal bones support the sides of your face, as well as protect the sides of your brain. Lastly, the parietal bones form the top of the cranium and skull. All these bones are held together by joints called sutures.
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