Skull and Facial Muscles - Anatomy & Physiology
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The shape and size of the skull varies widely, not only between species but also with age, breed and sex of similar species. The skull is divided into three components - the neurocranium, the dermatocranium and the viscerocranium. The skull also includes the hyoid apparatus, mandible, ossicles of the middle ear and the cartilage of the larynx, nose and ear. The skull protects the brain and head against injury and supports the structures of the face. In some animals the skull is also used for defensive actions, for example in horned ungulates such as red deer stags. The neurocranium develops from the neural crest and mesoderm and undergoes endochondral ossification. It lies ventral to the brain. The dermatocranium lies dorsal to the brain and develops from the neural crest and mesoderm. It undergoes intramembranous ossification. The viscerocranium is the pharyngeal skeleton. It is derived only from the neural crest and undergoes endochondral and intramembranous ossification. The various facial muscles attach onto the skull in different places depending on their function. Movement of the external appendages, mastication and facial expressions all rely on the movement of the facial muscles.
The skull is made of many small bones, most of which are paired. Cartilage or fibrous tissue separates the bones of the skull in the young animal and once growth has ceased, the sutures begin to ossify.
The skull has various functions including protection of brain, support of the facial muscles by providing origin and insertion sites, development of foramen to provide entry and exit places for the vasculature and nervous system and a defense function.
Bones of the Skull
Occipital Bone (os occipitale)
Sphenoid Bone (os sphenoidale)species differences) including the carotid notch, oval foramen and spinous notch (in the horse). The pterygoid processes are also present.
Temporal Bone (os temporale)temporomandibular joint. An articular tubercle and mandibular fossa are present. Occipital process and retrotympanic processes surround the external acoustic meatus whilst the petrosal part encloses the inner ear internally via the internal acoustic meatus. Ventrally this structure forms the mastoid process. The styloid process attaches the hyoid apparatus and a stylomastoid foramen is also present. The tympanic part is the ventral section of the temporal bone containing the tympanic bulla. The tympanic membrane separates tympanic cavity from external acoustic meatus and encloses the auditory ossicle dorsally. The musculotubal canal contains tensors of the soft palate.
Frontal Bone (os frontale)
The frontal bone is a paired structure joined by the interfrontal suture between the cranium and the face and enclosing the frontal sinuses. The nasal and lacrimal bones border the frontal squama section and form the zygomatic process laterally and part of the orbit dorsally. Lacrimal glands are also present near the orbit. The temporal line extends into the external sagittal crest. Ruminants also have a cornual process in horned variants. The nasal section is the rostral part of the frontal bone and the orbital part is perforated by the ethmoidal foramen. Medially the dorsal oblique muscle of the eyeball attaches. The temporal part provides the muscle attachments for the temporalis muscle.
Parietal Bone (os parietale)
Ethmoid Bone (os ethmoidale)CN I) passes through. The perpendicular plate splits the ethmoid into two halves and the ethmoid larbyrinth protrudes from the ethmoid tubes. The tubes are composed of two rows of ethmoturbinates and air filled ethmoidal meatuses. Secondary ethmoturbinates may also be present. Ethmoturbinates are divided into endoturbinates and ectoturbinates. The first endoturbinate forms the dorsal nasal conchae and the second endoturbinate froms the middle nasal conchae. The endoturbinates form 3 nasal meatuses; the dorsal nasal meatus, the middle nasal meatus and the ventral nasal meatus.
Nasal Bone (os nasale)
The nasal bone is a paired structure and forms the roof of the nasal cavity. Dorsal nasal conchae attach to the ethmoidal crest on the internal surface. A rostral suture forms the apex and between the nasal and incisive bones is the nasoincisive notch.
Lacrimal Bone (os lacrimale)
The lacrimal bone forms part of the lateral wall of the face and orbit and is situated near the medial canthus. It articulates with the frontal bone, zygomatic bone and maxilla. It also articulates with the nasal bone in ruminants and the horse and articulates with the palatine bone in carnivores. It is composed of an orbital and facial part separated by supra- and infraorbital margins. The nasolacrimal duct is present by the margin of the orbital surface. The ventral oblique muscle attaches caudal to the margin of the orbital surface. The nasal surface forms the boundaries of the maxillary and frontal sinuses.
Zygomatic Bone (os zygomaticum)
The zygomatic bone is lateral and ventral to the lacrimal bone and forms the orbit and zygomatic arch. The supraorbital margin is formed by the zygomatic process of the temporal bone and the frontal process of the zygomatic bone. The facial crest is present on lateral surface.
Incisive Bone (os incisivium)hard palate and the opening to the nasal cavity. The alveolar process forms conical sockets for the incisor teeth.
Palatine Bone (os palatinum)hard palate), perpendicular plate (forms the dorsal and lateral walls of the nasopharyngeal meatus) and the choanae. The nasal crest present on the horizontal plate. The palatine sinus is present on horizontal plate.
The vomer is unpaired and extends from the choanae of the palatine bone to the floor of the nasal cavity. It attaches to the median nuchal crest and has a septal sulcus which surrounds nasal cavity.
Pterygoid Bone (os pterygoideum)
The pterygoid bone is a paired structure bordered by the palatine and sphenoid bones. It forms the dorsal and lateral walls of the nasopharyngeal cavity. The pterygoid hamulus is formed by the pterygoid bone.
Maxillaoral cavity and hard palate. It also forms the ventral nasal conchae and articulates with all of the facial bones as it is the largest bone of the face. The maxillary body encloses the maxillary sinuses and forms the external surface of the face. It also forms the facial crest. The infraorbital foramen is palpable. The conchal crest is on nasal surface where the ventral nasal conchae attaches. The lacrimal canal opens into the lacrimal foramen on the nasal surface. The pterygopalatine surfaces are the caudal part of the maxilla which terminate in the maxillary tubercle where the sphenopalatine, maxillary and caudal palatine foramen are present. The alveolar processes present are separated by interalveolar septa. The palatine process forms the hard palate with the palatine bone. The palatine fissure is formed at the articulation with the incisive bone. The nasal surface of palatine process forms the nasal crest and encloses part of the palatine sinuses. The oral surface has numerous palatine foramina present.
Major Foramen and CanalsCN IX), vagus nerve (CN X) and accessory nerve (CN XI). The jugular foramen also contains the internal carotid artery. The foramen magnum is formed by the occipital bones and is the spinal cord's passage to the neck and body. The alar ligaments run through the foramen magnum together with vertebral arteries, spinal arteries and tectoral membranes. The hypoglossal canal is between paracondylar and condylar processes on lateral part of occipital bone. The hypoglossal nerve (CN XII), condylar artery and condylar vein all pass through. The optic chiasma runs in a transverse depression behind the sphenoid rostrum on presphenoid bone and facilitates the path of the optic nerve (CN II).
CN II). The oval foramen is found within the caudal wing of the basisphenoid bones and the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve (CN V3) passes through it. The alar canal is formed by the rostral border of the basisphenoid bone at the base of the pterygoid processes. It is composed of the caudal alar foramen, rostral alar foramen and the small alar foramen. The maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve (CN V2) passes through together with the temporal artery.
CN VII) to pass through. The ethmoidal foramen perforates the orbital part of the frontal bone allowing the olfactory nerve (CN I) and ethmoidal artery and vein to pass through.
CN V1), occulomotor nerve (CN III), trochlear nerve (CN IV) and the abducens nerve (CN VI) to pass through. The supraorbital foramen is on the frontal bone and allows the opthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve (CN V1) to pass through together with the frontal artery and vein. The infraorbital foramen is on the maxilla and allows the maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve (CN V2) to pass through together with the infraorbital artery and vein. CN V3) and the mental artery and vein to pass. The palatine canal runs through horizontal plate of palatine bone and allows the palatine artery, palatine vein and palatine nerves to pass through. The internal acoustic meatus is made up of the medial surface of the petrosal part of the temporal bone and is the facial opening for the facial nerve (CN VII). It is also the cochlear opening, dorsal vestibule opening and the ventral vestibule opening for the vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII).
The major facial muscles are covered in the following sections of anatomy and physiology:
Ruminantcornual process on frontal bone. The nuchal crest is reduced to a nuchal line, although there is a prominent temporal line. Ruminants have an elevated orbital ring which is complete but have no facial crest. There are prominent tympanic bullae and a nasoincisive notch present. The wings of the basisphenoid bones form the oval foramen. Ruminants have no foramen lacerum. The petrosal and tympanic parts of the temporal bone are fused to the squamous part. The zygomatic process articulates with the frontal process of the zygomatic bone.
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