skull

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skull

 [skul]
the skeleton of the head, consisting of the cranium and the mandible. The cranium forms the domed top, back, and sides of the skull; several of its bones are large, smooth, gently curved, and connected to each other by dovetailed joints called sutures, which permit no movement and make the mature skull rigid. They protect the brain, with their curved exterior serving to deflect blows; the eyes, ears, and nose are also protected by being recessed into the skull and surrounded by bone.



At birth the skull joints are flexible, so that the infant's head can be compressed as it emerges from the birth canal. The joints remain flexible to allow expansion until the cranial bones are fully formed, around the second year of life. An infant's skull contains soft areas, or fontanels, where the bones of the cranium do not meet.

The skull is supported by the highest vertebra, called the atlas. This joint permits a back-and-forth, nodding motion. The atlas turns on the vertebra below it, the axis, which allows the skull to turn from side to side.
Disorders of the Skull. The skull is rarely affected by disease. Uncommon ones like osteitis deformans and acromegaly cause the bones to increase in size. Like other bones, the skull may be fractured by blows, falls, or other accidents, but skull fracture can be far more dangerous because of its proximity to the brain.
Skull, midsagittal section. From Applegate, 2000.

cra·ni·um

, pl.

cra·ni·a

(krā'nē-ŭm, -ă), [TA]
The bones of the head collectively. The neurocranium is the part of cranium that forms the bony brain case containing the brain, excluding the bones of the face (viscerocranium).
Synonym(s): skull
[Mediev. L. fr. G. kranion]

skull

(skŭl)
n.
The bony or cartilaginous framework of the head, made up of the bones of the braincase and face; cranium.

skull

(skŭl)
The bones of the head collectively. In a more limited sense, the neurocranium, the bony braincase containing the brain, excluding the bones of the face (viscerocranium).
[Mid. Eng. skulle, a bowl]

skull

(skul)
Enlarge picture
BONES OF SKULL: Cranial bones
Enlarge picture
BONES OF SKULL: Facial bones
The bony framework of the head, composed of 8 cranial bones, the 14 bones of the face, and the teeth. It protects the brain and sense organs from injury. Synonym: calvaria; cranium See: illustration; skeleton

fractured skull

See: fracture of skullillustration

skull

The bony skeleton of the head and the protective covering for the brain. The part of the skull that encloses the brain is called the cranium.

skull

the skeleton of the vertebrate head.

cra·ni·um

, pl. crania (krā'nē-ŭm, -ă) [TA]
The bones of the head collectively.
Synonym(s): skull.
[Mediev. L. fr. G. kranion ]
References in classic literature ?
They passed the building and about five hundred yards beyond the creature alighted on the roof of a square, blue building surmounted by seven poles bearing seven skulls. This then, thought Bradley, is the Blue Place of Seven Skulls.
A striking feature of the decorations consisted of several engaged columns set into the walls at no regular intervals, the capitals of each supporting a human skull the cranium of which touched the ceiling, as though the latter was supported by these grim reminders either of departed relatives or of some hideous tribal rite--Bradley could not but wonder which.
A death's head grimaced as though a man long dead raised his parchment-covered skull from an old grave.
The ears were small and rested flat against the skull, which was noticeably round, though the face was quite flat.
Upon each house was a slender column supporting a human skull. Sometimes the columns were at one corner of the roof, sometimes at another, or again they rose from the center or near the center, and the columns were of varying heights, from that of a man to those which rose twenty feet above their roofs.
That you are here, alive, shows that they may not intend to kill you at all, and so there is a chance for you if you do not anger them; but touch him in violence and your bleached skull will top the loftiest pedestal of Oo-oh."
"Is de lef eye of de skull pon de same side as de lef hand of de skull, too?
was the skull nailed to the limb with the face outwards, or with the face to the limb?"
My first idea, now, was mere surprise at the really remarkable similarity of outline - at the singular coincidence involved in the fact, that unknown to me, there should have been a skull upon the other side of the parchment, immediately beneath my figure of the scarabæus, and that this skull, not only in outline, but in size, should so closely resemble my drawing.
There was a boat lying upon a sea-coast, and not far from the boat was a parchment - not a paper - with a skull depicted upon it.
"But," I interposed, "you say that the skull was not upon the parchment when you made the drawing of the beetle.
I reasoned, for example, thus: When I drew the scarabæus, there was no skull apparent upon the parchment.