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skull

skull The human skull has been rich in symbolism over the course of Western history. The skull as an emblem of death appeared as a result of the casualties brought on by the bubonic plague or the Black Death that ravaged the inhabitants of Europe throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The Dance of Death, which portrayed men and women of all classes dancing with a skeleton, became a popular artistic motif.

The skull as an intimation of death was also an obvious aspect of sixteenth-century century fashion and art. In the early decades of the century, portraits had skulls printed on the back in order to symbolize the inevitable demise of the sitter. Men and women of the upper classes wore medallions engraved with skulls and ivory heads as jewelry. These objects normally portrayed a living face on one side and the human skull on the other side. The mementos were to remind both the wearer and the onlooker of death and their obligation to lead moral lives. The keepsakes also revealed the tension experienced by members of the upper classes who desired to display their wealth while appearing to obey the dictates of Christian piety.

In the eighteenth century, Caribbean pirates flew flags that featured the human skull and crossbones. The symbol, known as the Jolly Roger, may have been a corruption of joli rouge (pretty red), the original colour of the flag. The phrase also may have referred to a pirate known as ‘Ali Raja’ or simply have designated the British term for devil, vagabond, and rogue. The eighteenth-century French pirate Emanuel Wynne was the first to use the skull and crossbones. Wynne also displayed an hourglass on his flag to indicate that time was running out for his intended victims.

In the twentieth century, the Nazi SS adopted the human skull and crossbones, called Death's Head, as the badge of their organization. The Totenkopfverbande, or ‘Death's Head units’, were among the most élite and most feared members of the SS. Taking their name from the death's head symbol they wore on the right collar of their uniform, the Totenkopfverbande initially guarded concentration camps, but their role was expanded to include military service, most prominently in Poland and the Soviet Union, where they were responsible for killing Jews, soldiers, and civilians.

The human skull and crossbones have not simply been the mark of infamous men and women; more significantly, they have warned young and old alike of the dangers posed by poisons, toxins, and other hazardous materials. The poison symbol is successful because it is easily identifiable and can be understood by those who are unable to read.

Finally, the human skull figured in nineteenth-century scientific debates, especially those that concerned the attributes of the various races. Practitioners of craniometry, or the science of measuring skulls, maintained that they possessed empirical evidence that showed the superiority of Caucasians over other races. Nineteenth-century criminal anthropologist Cesare Lombroso employed craniometry to bolster his claim that criminals possessed an innate predilection to commit crimes. Lombroso said large jaws, low and narrow foreheads, and smaller cranial capacity were characteristics of natural-born criminals.

Like craniometry, phrenology flourished in the nineteenth century in the US and Europe as a way to determine the future successes and setbacks of men and women. The phrenologist professed that by studying the shape of a subject's skull he or she could determine the person's unique attributes and abilities. The size and form of the cranium revealed the character of the phrenologist's client.

Structure and evolution

Anatomically, the adult cranium is an extremely complex region of the skeleton. It comprises some 27 bones, forming two components, — the neurocranium (brainbox) and the splanchnocranium (face). The neurocranium consists of a base and vault whose side walls and roof complete the protective encasing around the delicate brain. The splanchnocranium houses and protects many of the organs of special sense — sight, smell, and taste — as well as accommodating the first part of both the respiratory and alimentary tracts. The upper part of this face-skeleton forms the orbits and nose, whilst the lower part, together with the mandible, forms the jaws. The face is probably the most expressive aspect of human anatomy and this is made possible by more than 50 muscles that attach to the underlying skull. Despite the mobility which these provide, with the exception of the small bones of the middle ear there are only two moving joints in the entire face region, and even they cannot move independently, as the two sides must work in unison. The free movement of the jaw at these temporomandibular joints is critical to the success of both phonation (speech) and mastication (chewing). In historical times, infection of the joint could lead to ankylosis (fusion), which was obviously not compatible with sustained life.

The skull is probably the region of the human body that is most avidly studied with respect to human evolution. The size of the neurocranium and its size relative to the splanchnocranium have been critical to the definition of the hominid lineage. The apes tend to possess a relatively smaller neurocranium and larger face than modern man and his immediate ancestors. The modern human face is suspended under the brain, having rotated backwards and downwards underneath the neurocranium, whilst the brain has extended above and over the top of the face, giving modern man his characteristically high forehead that protects the frontal lobes of the brain.

Development and growth

In the child, the neurocranium develops in parallel with the early maturation of the central nervous system, whilst the splanchnocranium lags behind and is more closely linked to the development of the teeth. Hence the ‘cutesy’ and non-threatening appeal of baby cartoon characters with big eyes, a big head, and a small face. This early development of the brain along with its protective case has enormous implications with regard to the evolution of man and encephalization in particular. This is the study of the degree to which the nervous system of the human fetus matures in utero. Compared with all other animals, including other primates, human babies are born with relatively big heads that house a large brain. During the early part of this century, before Caesarean sections were commonplace or indeed safe, pelvimetry (measurements of the maternal pelvis) was frequently employed in an attempt to predict the outcome of labour. Cephalopelvic disproportion — when the baby's head was too large to pass successfully through the birth canal — was a serious clinical concern, as it led to high levels of fetomaternal mortality. However, to overcome this transitory problem, the fetal skull retains considerable flexibility, as the bones are not fully formed and so can ride over each other as the head passes down through the birth canal. It is whimsical to suppose that perhaps new-born babies cry because they start life with a blinding headache!

Forensic applications

In physical and forensic anthropology, the skull is extremely informative with regard to the identification of sex, age at death, and racial assignation. It also plays a pivotal role in establishing the identity of the deceased — it has been described as the ‘bony core of the fleshy head and face’. There are various techniques available to the forensic investigator in this context. To confirm or reject a proposed identity, the skull of the deceased can be compared with a portrait or photograph of the person during life; the image of the skull, live on camera, is superimposed on the static photograph until the correct sizing and orientation are achieved. Then, using specific anatomical landmarks, the ‘degree of fit’ of the two images can be assessed. When the identity is entirely unknown, facial reconstruction is employed. This can be achieved either by computerized methods, where a standard face is wrapped around the scanned image of the skull, or alternatively by clay modelling. The latter approach requires a considerable degree of skill and generally leads to a more realistic image of the deceased. The function of facial reconstruction is not necessarily to produce a near-photographic image of the deceased, but more realistically to strike a chord with family or friends of a missing person. Such was the case of a young man who was found on the top of a Scottish mountain. He had been dead for nearly two years when he was found accidentally by two climbers. Investigations by the local police did not lead to any success in his identification and so it was decided to reconstruct his face. The outcome was shown on the television programme Crimewatch and was picked up by its French television counterpart. It was recognized by a French family who knew that their son had gone walking in Scotland before he went missing, but whose own investigations had been unsuccessful. A simple DNA test confirmed his identity. Such is the way, in osteology, that the dry bones have, of coming back to life to tell their own story.

Karol K. Weaver, and Sue M. Black

Bibliography

Aiello, L. and and Dean, C. D. (1990). An introduction to human evolutionary anatomy. Academic Press, London.
Cohen, K. (1973). Metamorphosis of a death symbol: the transi tomb in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Davies, J. D. (1955). Phrenology fad and science: a nineteenth-century American crusade. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Reichs, K. J. (1998). Forensic osteology: advances in the identification of human remains, (2nd edn). CC Thomas, Springfield, Illinois.
Scheuer, J. L. and and Black, S. M. (2000). Developmental juvenile osteology. Academic Press.


See also anthropology; craniometry; evolution; phrenology; skeleton; skull-shaping.

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COLIN BLAKEMORE and SHELIA JENNETT. "skull." The Oxford Companion to the Body. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

COLIN BLAKEMORE and SHELIA JENNETT. "skull." The Oxford Companion to the Body. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. (September 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O128-skull.html

COLIN BLAKEMORE and SHELIA JENNETT. "skull." The Oxford Companion to the Body. 2001. Retrieved September 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O128-skull.html

Skull

Skull

The skull is the ossified, bony structure that encloses and protects the brain, internal extensions of sensory organs, and some facial structures. The skull is usually considered to consist of a cranial section (the cranium) and a facial region.

When a person has been dead for a long time, much of the body may have decomposed. One body part that will remain intact is the skull. Thus, it can become an important part of a forensic examination designed to determine the cause of death and, especially when the teeth are intact, to determine the identity of the deceased.

The cranium is a large, rounded, dome-shaped region of the skull that is composed of paired left and right frontal bones, parietal bones, temporal bones, and an unpaired occipital bone that forms the posterior base of the skull.

The bones of the cranium are fused by suturesjoints that run jaggedly along the interface between the bones. At birth, the sutures are soft, broad, and cartilaginous. This flexibility allows the skull to grow as the child matures. The sutures eventually fuse and become rigid and ossified near the end of puberty or early in adulthood. The coronal suture unites the frontal bone with the parietal bones. In anatomical nomenclature , the primary coronal plane is the plane that runs through the length of the coronal suture. At right angles to the coronal suture, the metopic suture separates the frontal bones in the midline region. The area formed by the fusion of the four bones near the top of the skull is termed the anterior fontanel or bregmatic fontanel (also commonly known as the topmost "soft spot" in a baby's skull). As with the sutures, the fontanels are soft at birth to permit growth. The fontanels shrink and close during childhood and are usually fully closed and hardened by young adulthood. The changing suture pattern can be used forensically to help estimate of the age of the deceased.

The sagittal suture unites the two large domedshaped parietal bones along the midline of the body. The suture is used as an anatomical landmark in anatomical nomenclature to establish what are termed sagittal planes of the body. The primary sagittal plane is the sagittal plane that runs through the length of the sagittal suture. Sagittal planes run anteriorly and posteriorly, are always at right angles to the coronal planes. The lambdoidal suture unites the left and right parietal bones with occipital bone. The area where the two parietals and the unpaired occipital bone meet is termed the posterior fontanel, lamdoidal fontanel, or lambda point (also commonly called the rear "soft spot" on a baby's skull). Like the anterior fontanel, the posterior fontanel closes and hardens with age, but is an important feature that allows growth of the skull during embryological and childhood development.

Along the sides of the cranium, the squamosal suture unites the temporal bone lying above (superior to) the ear and ear canal with the parietal bone. The anterior region of the temporal bones is united with the great wing of the sphenoid bone by continuation of the squamosal suture. The junction of the temporal, parietal, frontal and great wing of the sphenoid takes place at the sphenoid fontanel. The posterior border of the temporal bone on each side unites with the corresponding mastoid bone.

A mastoid fontanel lies at the posterior region of the side of the skull where the parietal, occipital, and mastoid bones unite. A mastoid process extends anteriorly toward the ear canal. A bony finger-like styloid process protrudes from the interior area to the external auditory opening (external auditory meatus).

The facial area of the skull is composed of the left and right zygomatic arches that extend from the lowest, most anterior margins of the temporal bone where the temporal bones articulate with the mandible (the temporomandibular joint) into the zygomatic bone itself. The zygomatic arches and zygomatic bones thicken to become prominent facial landmarks, forming the lower and side orbits of the eyes. The orbits are separated by a number of smaller bones in the nasal region including the ethmoid, lacrimal, and nasal bones. The maxilla and upper teeth form the most inferior region of the facial portion of the skull and are fused to the zygomatic bones.

The mandible is not considered a formal portion of the skull. In decayed bodies, the mandible becomes detached from the skull as the temporomandibular joint and supporting ligaments deteriorate.

A number of small openings allow nerves and blood vessels to penetrate the skull. These openings are termed foramen and are generally named for the bone they penetrate. For example, openings in the parietal bones are termed parietal foramen. A large foramen magnum at the rear and base of the skull allows the spinal cord to exit the skull into the vertebral column. Rounded, smooth, bony protuberances termed the occipital condyles lie on the anterior sides of the foramen magnum and help articulate the skull with the vertebral column.

The external occipital crest marks the posterior midline of the occipital bone. The crest runs from the foramen magnum upward (superiorly) to a bony knot-like external occipital protuberance.

Forensically, the skull can be used as the basis of a reconstruction, where layers of clay are applied to mimic the muscles and other tissue that formerly overlay the skull bones. When skillfully done, the resulting image offers an approximation of what the person may have looked like.

A less expensive and time-consuming method of reconstructing the facial appearance relies on photographing of the skull from different angles. The photographs can be cut out and mounted side-by-side to give a two-dimensional model that an artist can use to produce a drawing.

see also Bite analysis; Exhumation; Skeletal system overview (morphology).

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Skull X Rays

Skull X Rays

Definition

Skull x rays are performed to examine the nose, sinuses, and facial bones. These studies may also be referred to as sinus x rays. X-ray studies produce films, also known as radiographs, by aiming x rays at soft bones and tissues of the body. X-ray beams are similar to light waves, except their shorter wavelength allows them to penetrate dense substances, producing images and shadows on film.

Purpose

Doctors may order skull x rays to aid in the diagnosis of a variety of diseases or injuries.

Sinusitis

Sinus x rays may be ordered to confirm a diagnosis of sinusitis, or sinus infection.

Fractures

A skull x ray may detect bone fractures resulting from injury or disease. The skull x ray should clearly show the skull cap, jaw bones, and facial bones.

Tumors

Skull radiographs may indicate tumors in facial bones, tissues, or the sinuses. Tumors may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Other

Birth defects (referred to as congenital anomalies) may be detected on a skull x ray by changes in bone structure. Abnormal tissues or glands resulting from various conditions or diseases may also be shown on a skull radiograph.

Precautions

As with any x-ray procedure, women who may be pregnant are advised against having a skull x ray if it is not absolutely necessary. However, a lead apron may be worn across the abdomen during the procedure to protect the fetus. Children are also more sensitive to x-ray exposure. Children of both sexes should wear a protective covering (a lead apron) in the genital/reproductive area. In general, skull x-ray exposure is minimal and x-ray equipment and procedures are monitored to ensure radiation safety.

Description

Skull or sinus x rays may be performed in a doctor's office that has x-ray equipment and a technologist available. The exam may also be performed in an outpatient radiology facility or a hospital radiology department.

In many instances, particularly for sinus views, the patient will sit upright in a chair, perhaps with the head held stable by a foam vise. A film cassette is located behind the patient. The x-ray tube is in front of the patient and may be moved to allow for different positions and views. A patient may also be asked to move his or her head at various angles and positions.

In some cases, technologists will ask the patient to lie on a table and will place the head and neck at various angles. In routine skull x rays, as many as five different views may be taken to allow a clear picture of various bones and tissues. The length of the test will vary depending on the number of views taken, but in general, it should last about 10 minutes. The technologist will usually ask a patient to wait while the films are being developed to ensure that they are clear before going to the radiologist.

Preparation

There is no preparation for the patient prior to arriving at the radiology facility. Patients will be asked to remove jewelry, dentures, or other metal objects that may produce artifacts on the film. The referring doctor or x-ray technologist can answer any questions regarding the procedure. Any woman who is, or may be, pregnant should tell the technologist.

Aftercare

There is no aftercare required following skull or sinus x-ray procedures.

Risks

There are no common side effects from skull or sinus x ray. The patient may feel some discomfort in the positioning of the head and neck, but will have no complications. Any x-ray procedure carries minimal radiation risk, and children and pregnant women should be protected from radiation exposure to the abdominal or genital areas.

Normal results

Normal results should indicate sinuses, bones, tissues, and other observed areas are of normal size, shape, and thickness for the patient's age and medical history. Results, whether normal or abnormal, will be provided to the referring doctor in a written report.

Abnormal results

Abnormal results may include:

Sinusitis

Air in sinuses will show up on a radiograph as black, but fluid will be cloudy or white (opaque). This helps the radiologist to identify trapped fluids in the sinuses. In chronic sinusitis, the radiologist may also note thickening or hardening of the bony wall of an infected sinus.

Fractures

Radiologists may recognize even tiny facial bone fractures as a line of defect.

Tumors

Tumors may be visible if the bony sinus wall is distorted or destroyed. Abnormal findings may result in follow-up imaging studies.

Other

Skull x rays may also detect disorders that show up as changes in bone structure, such as Paget's disease of the bone or acromegaly (a disorder associated with excess growth hormones from the pituitary gland). Areas of calcification, or gathering of calcium deposits, may indicate a condition such as an infection of bone or bone marrow (osteomyelitis ).

Resources

ORGANIZATIONS

National Cancer Institute. Building 31, Room 10A31, 31 Center Drive, MSC 2580, Bethesda, MD 20892-2580. (800) 422-6237. http://www.nci.nih.gov.

National Head Injury Foundation, Inc. (888) 222-5287. http://www.nhif.org/home.html.

Radiological Society of North America. 820 Jorie Boulevard, Oak Brook, IL 60523-2251. (630) 571-2670. http://www.rsna.org.

KEY TERMS

Radiograph The actual picture or film produced by an x-ray study.

X ray A form of electromagnetic radiation with shorter wavelengths than normal light. X rays can penetrate most structures.

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Skull X Rays

Skull x rays

Definition

Skull x rays are performed to examine the nose, sinuses, and facial bones. These studies may also be referred to as sinus x rays. x ray studies produce films, also known as radiographs, by aiming x rays at soft bones and tissues of the body. x ray beams are similar to light waves, except their shorter wavelength allows them to penetrate dense substances, producing images and shadows on film.


Purpose

Doctors may order skull x rays to aid in the diagnosis of a variety of diseases or injuries.


Sinusitis

Sinus x rays may be ordered to confirm a diagnosis of sinusitis, or sinus infection.

Fractures

A skull x ray may detect bone fractures resulting from injury or disease. The skull x ray should clearly show the entire skull, jaw bones, and facial bones.


Tumors

Skull radiographs may indicate tumors in facial bones, tissues, or sinuses. Tumors may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).


Other

Birth defects (referred to as congenital anomalies) may be detected on a skull x ray by changes in bone structure. Abnormal tissues or glands resulting from various conditions or diseases may also be shown on a skull radiograph.


Description

Skull or sinus x rays may be performed in a doctor's office that has x ray equipment and a technologist available. The exam may also be performed in an outpatient radiology facility or a hospital radiology department.

In many instances, particularly for sinus views, the patient will sit upright in a chair, perhaps with the head held stable by a foam vise. A film cassette is located behind the patient. The x ray tube is in front of the patient and may be moved to allow for different positions and views. A patient may also be asked to move his or her head at various angles and positions.

In some cases, technologists will ask the patient to lie on a table and will place the head and neck at various angles. In routine skull x rays, as many as five different views may be taken to allow a clear picture of various bones and tissues. The length of the test will vary depending on the number of views taken, but in general, it should last about 10 minutes. The technologist will usually ask a patient to wait while the films are being developed to ensure that they are adequate before going to the radiologist.


Preparation

There is no preparation for the patient prior to arriving at the radiology facility. Patients will be asked to remove jewelry, dentures, or other metal objects that may produce artifacts on the film. The referring doctor or x ray technologist can answer any questions regarding the procedure. Any woman who is or may be pregnant should tell the technologist.


Aftercare

There is no aftercare required following skull or sinus x ray procedures.

Risks

There are no common side effects from skull or sinus x ray. The patient may feel some discomfort in the positioning of the head and neck, but will have no complications. Any x ray procedure carries minimal radiation risk; children and pregnant women should be protected from radiation exposure to the abdominal or genital areas.


Normal results

Normal results should indicate sinuses, bones, tissues, and other observed areas are of normal size, shape, and thickness for the patient's age and medical history. Results, whether normal or abnormal, will be provided to the referring doctor in a written report.


Abnormal results

Abnormal results may include:


Sinusitis

Air in sinuses will show up on a radiograph as black, but fluid will be cloudy or white (opaque). This helps the radiologist to identify fluid in the sinuses. In chronic sinusitis, the radiologist may also note thickening or destruction of the bony wall of an infected sinus.


Fractures

Radiologists may recognize even tiny facial bone fractures as a line of defect.


Tumors

Tumors may be visible if the bony sinus wall is distorted or destroyed. Abnormal findings may result in follow-up imaging studies.


Other

Skull x rays may also detect disorders that show up as changes in bone structure, such as Paget's disease of the bone or acromegaly (a disorder associated with excess growth hormones from the pituitary gland). Areas of calcification, or gathering of calcium deposits, or destruction may indicate a condition such as an infection of bone or bone marrow (osteomyelitis).

Resources

organizations

National Cancer Institute. Building 31, Room 10A31, 31 Center Drive, MSC 2580, Bethesda, MD 20892-2580. (800) 422-6237. <http://www.nci.nih.gov>.

National Head Injury Foundation, Inc. (888) 222-5287. <http://www.nhif.org/home.html>.

Radiological Society of North America. 820 Jorie Boulevard, Oak Brook, IL 60523-2251. (630) 571-2670. <http://www.rsna.org>.


Teresa Norris, RN Lee A. Shratter, MD

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Norris, Teresa; Shratter, Lee A.. "Skull X Rays." Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Norris, Teresa; Shratter, Lee A.. "Skull X Rays." Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. 2004. Retrieved September 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3406200416.html

skull shaping

skull shaping In late eighteenth-century Europe skull shape and size became the measure sine qua non of intelligence. It seems most remarkable, then, that mothers and midwives should have been seen as a crucial force giving shape to this particular part of the body. Germans had especially broad heads, it was said, because German mothers always slept their babies on their backs. Belgians had oblong heads because Belgian mothers wrapped their infants in swaddling clothes and slept them as much as possible on their sides and temples. Greeks had nearly spherical heads through the special care of midwives. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau remarked, if the way in which God has shaped our heads does not suit us, we have them modelled from without by midwives, and modelled from within by philosophers.

Skulls were only one bodily feature that supposedly lay within mothers' manipulative powers. Noses, especially the noses of African infants, were said to be flattened by the rhythm of their mothers' daily work while they were carried on their mothers' backs. Skin colour was also said to depend on the vivacity of women's imaginations during conception or pregnancy (Lot's daughters, who saw smoke as they fled burning Sodom, fixed that colour upon their children through the unconscious workings of their imaginations). Mothers among the Khoikhoi in southern Africa were deemed ‘villainous’ for excising the left testicle of newly born males to make them faster runners and better hunters. The notion that mothers wielded such power derived from the eighteenth-century theory of environmentalism, the notion that bodily characteristics — the shape of noses and lips, the colour of skin, the texture of hair, and the shape of skulls — were fluid, formed over a number of years by external forces working on the body. These forces included climate, diet, and customs; the vagaries of epidemics or disease; the crossing of different races; and the manipulative hands of women. In the idiom of Buffon, mothers and midwives took the homogeneous stuff of humanity and carved from it the peculiarities of national types. As late as the 1930s, adherents of Hitler strove to transform unsightly round heads into long, dolichocephalic ones.

While some of these notions are mythical, the skulls of very young children do respond to consistent pressure. The bones which will later fuse together around their edges are linked by soft membranes in the infant. This provides some pliability during descent through the birth canal and allows the ‘moulding’ which can change the shape of the skull considerably, though temporarily, if labour is long and the head is large; babies born by Caesarean section start off with rounder heads. Skull-shaping has also been popular outside Europe. Hindus of Baluchistan form a round head and broad forehead by wrapping the baby's head in bandages and keeping it immobile for some time on a cushion. The broad head marks their superior caste standing. The Chinook of the northwest coast of North America flatten infants' heads by pressing a baby's forehead between two pieces of wood tied together by leather thongs, making their faces appear remarkably broad. Only the free-born among them enjoy these carefully crafted heads; slaves are recognized by their ‘ugly’ round heads. The Caribs of the lesser Antilles, by contrast, formed flat foreheads but peaked crowns by banding their young children's heads. Various peoples of Africa prefer elegantly elongated skulls. For ancient Egyptians, this was a mark of royalty. In northeastern Zaire, still today, Mangebetu women bind their children's heads to produce elongated skulls.

Londa Schiebinger

Bibliography

Brain, R. (1975a). The decorated body. Harper and Row, New York.
Schiebinger, L. (1993). Nature's body. Beacon Press, Boston.

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COLIN BLAKEMORE and SHELIA JENNETT. "skull shaping." The Oxford Companion to the Body. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

COLIN BLAKEMORE and SHELIA JENNETT. "skull shaping." The Oxford Companion to the Body. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. (September 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O128-skullshaping.html

COLIN BLAKEMORE and SHELIA JENNETT. "skull shaping." The Oxford Companion to the Body. 2001. Retrieved September 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O128-skullshaping.html

skull

skull, the skeletal structure of the head, composed of the facial and cranial bones. The skull houses and protects the brain and most of the chief sense organs; i.e., the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue. Among humans, some 14 bones shape the face, most occurring in symmetrical pairs. They are the lacrimals at the inner sides of the eyes, the nasals and nasal conchae of the nose, the palatines (palate), the zygomatics, or malars at the cheeks, the vomer (nasal septum), and the maxillae, or upper jaw. The mandible, or lower jaw, is not technically part of the skull. The adult human cranium, or braincase, is formed of fused skull bones: the parietals, temporals, ethmoid, sphenoid, frontal, and occipital. These are separate plates of bone in the fetus, but by birth they have generally grown sufficiently for most of their edges to meet. The remaining separations are known as fontanels, the most prominent being the soft spot atop a newborn's head. By the age of two years, all of these fontanels have been closed over by the growing cranial bones. However, the seams, or sutures, between the bones do not completely knit until the age of 20. The occipital bone at the base of the skull forms a complex joint with the first vertebra of the neck, known as the atlas, permitting rotation and bending of the head (see spinal column). Study of the fossil skulls of humans and their precursors has made important contributions to evolutionary theory, and to the science of physical anthropology. Earlier skulls of human ancestors, for instance, have been shown to have markedly smaller cranial capacities, as well as more powerful jaws, than do the Homo sapiens species which exist today.

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"skull." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"skull." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. (September 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-skull.html

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skull

skull / skəl/ • n. a framework of bone or cartilage enclosing the brain of a vertebrate; the skeleton of a person's or animal's head. ∎ inf. a person's head or brain: a skull crammed with too many thoughts. • v. [tr.] hit (someone) on the head. PHRASES: out of one's skull inf. 1. out of one's mind; crazy. 2. very drunk. skull and crossbones a representation of a skull with two thigh bones crossed below it as an emblem of piracy or death.DERIVATIVES: skulled adj. [in comb.] long-skulled.

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"skull." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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skull

skull (skul) n. the skeleton of the head and face, which is made up of 22 bones. It can be divided into the cranium, which encloses the brain, and the face, including the lower jaw (mandible). (See illustration overleaf.) All the bones of the skull except the mandible are connected to each other by immovable joints (see suture). The skull contains cavities for the eyes and nose and a large opening at its base (foramen magnum) through which the spinal cord passes.

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"skull." A Dictionary of Nursing. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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skull

skull The skeleton of the head. In mammals it consists of a cranium enclosing the brain and the bones of the face and jaw. All the joints between the individual bones of the skull are immovable (see suture) except for the joint between the mandible (lower jaw) and the rest of the skull. There is a large opening (foramen magnum) at the base of the skull through which the spinal cord passes from the brain.

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"skull." A Dictionary of Biology. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"skull." A Dictionary of Biology. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (September 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O6-skull.html

"skull." A Dictionary of Biology. 2004. Retrieved September 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O6-skull.html

skull

skull.
1. Of an animal, an aegicrane or bucranium, on friezes, etc.

2. If human, represents mortality, transitory life, and vanity, so occurs in funerary architecture, notably as supports for obelisks.

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JAMES STEVENS CURL. "skull." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. 2000. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

JAMES STEVENS CURL. "skull." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. 2000. Encyclopedia.com. (September 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O1-skull.html

JAMES STEVENS CURL. "skull." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. 2000. Retrieved September 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O1-skull.html

skull

skull (cranium) In vertebrates, brain case that supports and protects the brain, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

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"skull." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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skull

skull XIII. ME. scolle, schulle, of unkn. orig. comp. skull-cap XVII.

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T. F. HOAD. "skull." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

T. F. HOAD. "skull." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. (September 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-skull.html

T. F. HOAD. "skull." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Retrieved September 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-skull.html

Skull

Skull

a school or shoal of fish.

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"Skull." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. 1985. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Skull." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. 1985. Encyclopedia.com. (September 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2505301409.html

"Skull." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. 1985. Retrieved September 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2505301409.html

skull

skull See CRANIUM.

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AILSA ALLABY and MICHAEL ALLABY. "skull." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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AILSA ALLABY and MICHAEL ALLABY. "skull." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. 1999. Retrieved September 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O13-skull.html

skull

skull See CRANIUM.

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MICHAEL ALLABY. "skull." A Dictionary of Zoology. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

MICHAEL ALLABY. "skull." A Dictionary of Zoology. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. (September 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O8-skull.html

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skull

skullannul, cull, dull, gull, hull, lull, mull, null, scull, skull, Solihull, trull, Tull •seagull • multihull • monohull •numbskull • Elul

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"skull." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. 26 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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