Feeds

Is the human skull made up of one bone or two?

Soft spots explained

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Also in this week's column:

Is the human skull made up of one bone or two?

Asked by Jill Maynard of Greenacre, New South Wales, Australia

It surprises many to learn that the human skull is not one solid bone as is usually thought. Nor does it consist of just two bones---the top of the head and everything underneath. The skull (cranium) is actually composed of (count them!) twenty-two separate bones. There are eight cranial bones around the brain and fourteen facial and jaw bones in the human skull. Just one of these bones moves - the jaw bone (mandible). In infants and very small children, the cranial bones are disconnected segments held together by connective tissue stripes called sutures. At certain sites, these sutures are especially weak, creating the so-called “soft spots” (fontanels) in an infant’s head. The most prominent of these is a little way up from the infant’s forehead. When growing is complete, the bones of the skull fuse together along the suture lines. These unions contain small amounts of fibrous connective tissue similar to those of the joints of arms and legs. Although the skull may structurally appear to be one piece when fully developed, it is still composed of separate bones. Many fossil skeletal remains that anthropologists find often appear to have cracked or broken skulls. But these skulls are actually just missing some of their pieces. The softer connective tissue having decomposed, little support is left between the individual pieces in the skull. This causes them to fall out and perhaps get left behind over thousands and thousands of years. Has anyone seen my...? Then again, let’s not get a head of ourselves.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.