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Taste fibers from the anterior two thirds of the tongue and the soft palate follow the chorda tympani to their neuronal cell bodies in the geniculate ganglion; the axons of these neurons follow the nervus intermedius (the sensory root of the facial nerve) into the pons where they synapse in the nucleus of the tractus solitarius (the gustatory nucleus).
Somatic motor axons from the motor nucleus of the facial nerve in the pons emerge as the motor root of the facial nerve and enter the bone of the skull through the internal auditory meatus. The motor axons follow the facial canal inside the temporal bone and exit the skull through the stylomastoid foramen. From there, the axons innervate all the muscles of facial expression. Preganglionic parasympathetic axons from the superior salivatory nucleus take the nervus intermedius to the region of the geniculate ganglion inside the facial canal. From there, some of the axons join the chorda tympani and later reach the submandibular ganglion by following the lingual nerve. Other preganglionic parasympathetic axons follow the major superficial petrosal nerve and the vidian nerve to reach the pterygopalatine ganglion.