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Medicine LibreTexts

2.1: Handling and General Terminology

  • Page ID
    11429
  • Handling a Skull

    The skulls that you handle while learning osteology were once living humans like yourself, therefore they are deserving of your respect. Handle each skull with great care, using both hands to pick it up. Always place the skull on a bean bag or other padding when putting it down. Do not place your fingers into the eye orbits, nasal cavity, or foramen magnum as these are fragile areas and bone is easily broken. If a cranium has an attached mandible, be extremely gentle when opening and closing the jaw to prevent breakage of the teeth. Be very careful with your pens and pencils; as the skulls used in class will be used by others and it is necessary to keep them as pristine as possible. When taking measurements, very gently place the calipers on the skull; when held too tight on the skull the calipers can scratch the bone.

    General Terminology

    Skull            Skeleton of the head, face, and lower jaw.

    Cranium       A skull lacking its lower jaw.

    Calvarium     A skull lacking the lower jaw and face.

    Calotte         A braincase or skull cap.