Anatomy & Physiology Lab 1: The Axial Skeleton

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Three parts of the Axial skeleton

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1.The Skull
2.The Vertebral Column
3.The Thoracic Cage


Cranial Bones

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-encloses and protects the fragile brain tissue


Facial Bones

-supports the eyes and position them anteriorly
-provides attachment sites for facial muscles


All but one of the bones of the skull are joined by interlocking joints called ____________.

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The mandible, or lower jawbone is attached to the rest of the skull by a _______________.

freely movable joint


Cranial Vault/Calvaria

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-the superior, lateral, and posterior walls of the skull


Cranial Base

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-forms the skull bottom


What are the three distinct depressions of the cranial base?

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1.Anterior cranial fossae
2.Middle cranial fossae
3.Posterior cranial fossae


Frontal Bone

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-anterior portion of cranium
-forms the forehead


Supraorbital foramen (notch)

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-opening above each orbit allowing blood vessels and nerves to pass



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-smooth area between the eyes


Parietal Bone (2)

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-posterolateral to the frontal bone, forming sides of the cranium


Sagittal Suture

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-midline articulation point of the two parietal bones


Coronal Suture

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-point of articulation of parietals with frontal bone


Temporal Bone

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-inferior to parietal bone on lateral skull


What are the three major parts of the temporal bone?

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1. Squamous part
-border the parietals
2.Tympanic part
-surrounds the external ear opening
-forms the lateral portion of the skull base and contains the mastoid process


Squamous Suture

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-point of articulation of the temporal bone with the parietal bone


Zygomatic Process

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- bridgelike projection joining the zygomatic bone (cheekbone) anteriorly


Mandibular Fossa

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-rounded depression on the inferior surface of the zygomatic process
-forms the socket for the condylar process of the mandible
-where the mandible joins the lower cranium


External Acoustic Meatus

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-canal leading to eardrum and middle ear


Styloid Process

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-needlelike projection inferior to external acoustic meatus
-attachment point for muscles and ligaments of the neck


Jugular Foramen

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-opening medial to the styloid process through which the internal jugular vein and cranial nerves IX, X, and XI pass


Carotid Canal

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-opening medial to the styloid through which the internal carotid artery passes into the cranial cavity


Internal Acoustic Meatus

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-opening on posterior aspect (or petrous part) of temporal bone allowing passage of cranial nerves


Foramen Lacerum

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-jagged opening between the petrous temporal bone and the sphenoid providing passage for a number of small nerves and for the internal carotid artery to enter the middle cranial fossa


Stylomastoid Foramen

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-tiny opening between the mastoid and styloid processes through which cranial nerve VII leaves the cranium


Mastoid Process

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-Rough projection inferior and posterior to external acoustic meatus
-attachment site for muscles


Occipital Bone

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-most posterior bone of the cranium


Lambdoid Suture

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-site of articulation of occipital bone and parietal bones


Foramen Magnum

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-large opening in base of occipital, which allows the spinal cord to join with the brain


Occipital Condyles

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-rounded projections lateral to the foramen magnum that articulate with the first cervical vertebra (atlas)


Hypoglossal Canal

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-opening medial and superior to the occipital condyle through which the hypoglossal nerve pass


External Occipital Crest and Protuberance

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-midline prominences posterior to the foramen magnum


Sphenoid Bone

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Bat-shaped bone forming the anterior plateau of the middle cranial fossa across the width of the skull.
-articulates with all the other cranial bones


Greater Wings

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


Pterygoid Processes

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-inferiorly directed trough-shaped projections from the junction of the body and the greater wings


Superior Orbital Fissures

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-jagged openings in orbits provding passages for cranial nerves III, IV, V, and VI to enter the orbit where they serve the eye


Sella Turcica

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- saddle shaped region in the sphenoid midline


Lesser Wings

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-bat shaped portions of the sphenoid bone anterior to the sella turcica


Optic Canals

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- openings in the bases of the lesser wings through which the optic nerve (cranial nerve II) enter the orbits to serve the eyes


Foramen Rotundum

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- opening lateral to the sella turcica providing passage for a branch of the fifth cranial nerve


Foramen Ovale

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opening posterior to the sella turcica that allows passage of the fifth cranial nerve.


Foramen Spinosum

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opening lateral to the foramen ovale which the meningeal artery passes


Ethmoid Bone

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irregularly shaped bone anterior to the sphenoid


Crista Galli

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vertical projection providing a point of attachment for the dura meter, helping to secure the brain within the skull


Cribriform Plates

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bony plates lateral to the crista galli through which olfactory fibers pass to the brain


Perpendicular Plate

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inferior projection of the ethmoid bone that forms the superior part of the nasal septum


Lateral Masses

irregularly shaped and thin-walled bony regions flanking the perpendicular plate laterally



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the lower jawbone, which articulates with the temporals in the only freely movable joints of the skull


Mandibular body

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horizontal portion; forms the chin


Mandibular Ramus

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vertical extension of the body on either side


Condylar Process

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articulation point of the mandible with the mandibular fossa of the temporal bone


Coronoid Process

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jutting anterior portion off the ramus
-site of muscle attachment


Mandibular Angle

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posterior point at which ramus meets the body


Mental Foramen

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-prominent opening on the body that transmits the mental blood vessels and nerve to the lower jaw


Mandibular Foramen

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-permis passage of the nerve involved with tooth sensation


Alveolar Process

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superior margin of the mandible, contains sockets in which the teeth lie



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-two bones fused in a median suture
-forms the upper jawbone and parts of the orbits


Palatine Processes

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-from the anterior hard palate; meets medially in the intermaxillary suture


Infraorbital Foramen

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-opening under the prbit carrying the infraorbital nerves and blood vessels to the nasal region


Lacrimal Bone

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-fingernail sized bones forming part of the medial orbit walls between the maxilla and the ethmoid bone


Palatine Bone

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-paired bones posterior to the palatine processes

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