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Skull Bones | Skull Anatomy

The Human Skull Bones

Scientifically, The human Skull Bones, are  known as the cranium, consists of 22 bones.

  • The skull can be broken into two regions, the cranial section and the facial section.
  • The cranial bones consist of the bones in the top of the skull while the facial bones consist of the bones that make up your face.
  • The skulls primary functions are protection of the brain and support of the face.
  • In the skull, sinal cavities can be found. Although the function of these cavities is still not definitively known, it may be that the sinuses function are to decreasing the weight of the skull while maintaining strength.

Below are detailed diagrams of the skull bones (cranial and facial bones). Learn the names of the bones and skull bones anatomy through the skull bones diagrams.

Cranial bones

List of all Cranial Bones


  • frontal bone
  • parietal bone (2)
  • temporal bone (2)
  • occipital bone
  • sphenoid bone
  • ethmoid bone
Facial Bones

List of all Facial Bones


  • mandible
  • maxilla (2)
  • palatine bone (2)
  • zygomatic bone (2)
  • nasal bone (2)
  • lacrimal bone (2)
  • vomer
  • inferior nasal conchae (2)

Cranial Bones

Frontal Bone

Frontal Bone

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  • The frontal bone is located at the front of the head / skull and corresponds to the region known as the forehead.
  • The main functions of the frontal bone are protection of the brain and support of the face.
  • The frontal bones consists of two parts: the vertical portion known as the squama frontalis and the horizantal portion, known as the pars orbitals. The vertical portion corresponds with the forehead while the horizontal portion correlates with the roofs of the orbital (eye) and nasal (nose) cavities.

Parietal Bones

Parietal Bone

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  • The two parietal bones are connected and make up part of the roof and sides of the human skull.
  • Like the other cranial bones, their main functions include protection of the brain and support of the face. Each parietal bone consists of four borders and four angles.
  • The sagittal border, the squamous border, the frontal border, and the occipital border are the four borders of the parietal.
  • While the  frontal, sphenodial, occipital, and mastoid angles make up the four angles of the parietal bone.

Temporal Bones

Temporal Bone

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  • The temporal bones are situated on the bases and sides of the skull, parallel to the temporal lobes of the brain.
  • The primary functions of the temporal bones are protection of the brain and support of the face, specifically the temples.
  • Each temporal bone consists of the  squama temporalis, mastoid portion, petrous portion, and the tympanic portion.
  • Furthermore, mastoid portion and petrous portion. The former consisting of spongy bone and the later consisting of dense bone.

Occipital Bone

Occipital Bone

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  • The occipital bone is a trapezoidal, curvy shaped bone located at the rear of the cranium.
  • Like the other cranial bones, this bone protects the brain and supports the head (specifically the back of the head).
  • It also contains a gap that allows the cranial cavity to communicate with the vertebral column.
  • The occipital bone is divided into three regions, the squama occipitalis,  the basilar part, and the lateral parts.
  • Furthermore, the occipital bone consists of the superior and inferior angles and the superior and inferior borders.

Sphenoid Bone

Sphenoid Bone

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  • The sphenoid bone is located at the base of the skull and behind the eye socket.
  • This bone is a wedge-like bone located in front of the temporal bone and is one of several bones that form the eye socket (orbit).
  • The sphenoid bone is divided into 6 portions, the body of the bone, two greater wings, two lesser wings, and the pterygoid proccesses.
  • Interestingly, the sphenoid bone’s shape can be compared to the shape of a butterfly or bat. See the image to the side to see the anatomy of the sphenoid bone in great detail.

Ethmoid Bone

Ethmoid Bone

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  • The ethmoid bone is a square or cubical shaped bone located at the top of the nose and in between the two eye sockets.
  • This light weight bone is made out of spongy bone and like the sphenoid, is one of the bones that make up the structure of the eye socket.
  • The main functions of the ethmoid bone are the protection of vital organs in the region and support of the nose and orbits (eye sockets).
  • Although not relevant to human anatomy, many birds have magnenite deposits in their ethmoid bones that allow them to detect the earth’s magnetic field.

Facial Bones


  • The mandible bone forms the lower jaw of the human skull.
  • This bone’s main function is support of the lower part of the face and holding the bottom half of the teeth in place.
  • The mandible is essential for movement of the mouth.
  • The mandible is divided into several sections, which can be seen in detail in the image to the side.
  • The sections of the mandible bone are the body, the two rami, the alveolar process, the condyle, and coronoid process.
  • The inferior alveolar nerve is runs through the mandibular foramen (opening) and provides sensation to the teeth.

Maxilla Bones


Maxilla Bone

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  • The maxilla consists of two separate bones that fuse together to collectively form the maxilla.
  • The maxilla, often known as the mustache bone because of its shape, is located above the mandible and below the orbits.
  • The function of the maxilla is to provide protection of the face, support of the orbits, hold the top half of the teeth in place, and form the floor of the nose.

The maxilla is divided into the following components: the body,

  • the zygomatic process,
  • the frontal process,
  • the alveolar process,
  • the palatine process,
  • the infraorbital foramen, and the maxillary sinus.

The alveolar process is known as the maxillary arch and is the portion of the maxilla that hold the upper teeth in place.

Palatine Bones

Palatine Bones

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  • The palatine bone consists of two bones that fuse together to collectively form the palatine, like the maxilla. Often, the palatine is simply known as the palatum.
  • This bone is located in the back part of the nasal cavity.
  • The palatine bone functions in protection of organs in the region and the formation of the roof of the mouth and floor of the eye socket.

Furthermore, each palatine bone touches six other facial bones:

  • the ethmoid,
  • the sphenoid,
  • the maxilla,
  • the inferior nasal concha,
  • the vomer,
  • and the other palatine.

Zygomatic Bones

Zygomatic Bones

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  • The face consists of two zygomatic bones, located in the upper and lateral parts of the face.
  • The zygomatic bone, also known as the cheek bone or malar bone, supports the region of the face known as the cheek, protects organs in the area, and forms part of the orbit.

The zygomatic consists of four borders,

  • the orbital border,
  • the maxillary border,
  • the temporal border,
  • and the zygomatic border.

Additionally, the zygomatic bone is also known as the zygoma, which is Greek for yoke.

Nasal Bones

Nasal Bones

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The nasal bones consists of two boness located near the middle of the face that come together to form the bridge of the nose.

These bones vary in size from individual to individual.

Each nasal bone consists of two surfaces,

  • the outer
    and inner surfaces
    and four borders

The nasal bone functions in support of the nose and formation of the nose bridge.

Furthermore, the nasal bone touches four other bones:

  • the frontal,
  • the ethmoid,
  • the maxilla,
  • and the opposite nasal bone.

Lacrimal Bones

Lacrimal Bone

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The lacrimal bone is located in the medial wall of the eye socket and this bone is the smallest bone of the face.

The main function of the lacrimal bone is forming part of the orbit / eye socket.

The surfaces of the lacrimal bone are

  • the orbital surface
  • and the nasal surface.

The four borders of the lacrimal bone are

  • the anterior,
  • posterior,
  • superior,
  • and inferior borders

Each lacrimal bone touches four bones:

  • the frontal,
  • the ethmoid,
  • the maxilla,
  • and the inferior nasal concha

Inferior Nasal Conchae

Inferior nasal concha

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The inferior nasal conche consists of two paired bones, each individually known as;

  • a nasal concha
  • or turbinate bone.

Each nasal concha or turbinate is made of spongy bone that curls on itself. The nasal conchae are horizontal bones that project into the nasal cavity.

The primary function of the nasal concahe is the filtering of air. As air enters the nasal cavity during breathing, the nasal conahe forces the air to go through mucous and cilia, thus effectivley filtering and warming the air.

The nasal conchae consists of;

  • the medial
  • and lateral surfaces.

Additionally, it also consists of the upper border and inferior border.


Vomer Bone

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The vomer is a thin, quadrilateral shaped bone located at the base of the nasal cavity.

This bone functions in forming the nasal cavity.

The vomer consists of;

  • the superior border
  • inferior border
  • anterior border
  • and posterior border

That is a good start in understanding the Skull Bones of the Human Body

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Test Your Knowledge

How Many Bones in the Human Body?

An adult has a total of 206 bones in their skeleton

How many Bones in a Child's Body?

A newborn baby has 270 bones in the skeletal system. Most of their skeleton is made up of cartilage which forms bone as it hardens over time. The bones in a child's skeleton fuse together as they grow, reducing the number, up until about 25 years old.

What is The Strongest Bone in the Human Body?

The femur or thigh bone is the strongest bone in the body. It is situated between the pelvis and the knee. It is also the longest bone in the body and is fully one quarter of your bodies' height.

What is the Weakest Bone in The Body?

The weakest bones in your body are the tiny bones inside your ear that enable you to hear. On the other hand; the most commonly fractured bone is the clavicle.

What is the Hardest Bone in the Body?

The hardest bone in the body is the petrous portion of the temporal bone. The temporal bones are found at the sides and base of the skull and the petrous portion is specifically the part at the base of the skull that contains the organs for hearing.

Where are the Smallest bones in Your Body Located?

The smallest bone in the body is called the stapes. It is a stirrup shaped bone found inside the ear drum that transmits vibrations enabling us to hear.

How many Bones are in the Leg?

A human leg contains 30 bones. There are 26 bones that make up the foot, and the four major bones of the leg, which are the thigh bone (femur), the shin bone (tibia), the calf bone (fibula) and the knee cap (patella)