Lab 2. Axial Skeleton: Skull
AXIAL SKELETON: THE SKULL
The structure and adaptations of the human skull are striking and distinctive.
They reflect our
unique adaptation as a species, our impressive brain size, our sophisticated sensory orientation,
and our upright posture.
At birth the skull is not fully mature, an adaptation that facilitates birth
and the need for nervous system growth during the first few years of life.
The skull is divided
into facial and cranial components, and the respective bones often lose their identity because of a
fusion process that restricts movement at many articulations.
Skeletal bones are classified as
cranial or facial depending on whether they make up part of the cranium or not, and are further
classified as single or paired.
In addition to protecting the brain, the skull also houses important
sensory organs, facilitates breathing and eating functions, resonates sound waves from the vocal
folds, provides for mastication, and gives us distinctive personal characteristics that aid in
In this laboratory we will examine adult and fetal skulls learning the
bones, important structural landmarks on these bones, skull adaptations, movements and
articulations, and general surface features of the skull.
Study the structure of the skull and complete an understanding of the structure of the
axial skeleton and its functions.
Identify the bones of the skull and their important landmarks.
Study the fetal skull and learn its unique adaptations.
Review the articulations of the skull.
METHODS AND MATERIALS
Identify the bones of the skull, important structures, and articulation by studying the skulls,
disarticulated skull bones, and models available.
Good skull illustrations will be a valuable
learning aid as well.
Materials available for study include the following: Human skulls, skull
showing sinuses, fetal skulls, fetal skeleton, disarticulated skull bones, skull with bones
disarticulated in exploded view, model showing trigeminal nerve, model of temporal bone
showing inner ear, and model of orbit with eye.
Please handle all skulls carefully and with two
Use only the pointers provided – never use a pencil or pen as a pointer.