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What are the eight bones of the cranium?

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Quick Answer

The eight bones of the cranium are the occipital, sphenoid, ethmoid, a pair of temporal bones, a pair of parietal bones and the frontal bone. These eight bones make up a large portion of the human skull and function primarily to protect the brain.

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Full Answer

The occipital bone is located at the rear of the cranium and is shaped in a curve to support the back of the head. The two temporal bones are primarily set parallel to the brain's temporal lobes. Aside from their main function of brain protection, the temporal bones also provide support to the facial structure. A portion of the top part of the cranium is also made up of the two parietal bones, which account for parts of the roof and sides of the skull.

The sphenoid bone is located in front of the two temporal bones, making up part of the eye socket. The sphenoid has a wedge-like shape and is found at the base of the skull area. Connected to the sphenoid bone is the square-shaped ethmoid bone, which is located between the two eye sockets. The ethmoid's main role is to provide support for the nose and eye sockets, as well as protection to organs around it.

The frontal bone is at the front of the cranium and makes up all of the human forehead.

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