In human anatomy, the neurocranium, also known as the braincase, brainpan, or brain-pan is the upper and back part of the skull, which forms a protective case around the brain. In the human skull, the neurocranium includes the calvaria or skullcap. The remainder of the skull is the facial skeleton.
The eight bones that form the human neurocranium.
|Anatomical terms of bone|
The neurocranium is divided into two portions:
- the membranous part, consisting of flat bones, which surround the brain; and
- the cartilaginous part, or chondrocranium, which forms bones of the base of the skull.
In humans, the neurocranium is usually considered to include the following eight bones:
The size of the neurocranium is variable among mammals. The roof may contain ridges such as the temporal crests.
The neurocranium arises from paraxial mesoderm. There is also some contribution of ectomesenchyme. In Chondrichthyes and other cartilaginous vertebrates this portion of the cranium does not ossify; it is not replaced via endochondral ossification.
Evolutionarily, the human neurocranium has expanded from comprising the back part of the mammalian skull to being also the upper part: during the evolutionary expansion of the brain, the neurocranium has overgrown the splanchnocranium. The upper-frontmost part of the cranium also houses the evolutionarily newest part of the human brain, the frontal lobes.
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- In small children, the frontal bone is still separated into two parts, by the frontal suture, which normally closes during postnatal development.
- but if they are included, the neurocranium will then have to be said to consist of fourteen bones
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