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In anatomy, the skull is the hard bony structure that protects the brain from damage and gives the head its shape.

Humans In humans, the skull is the uppermost portion of the human skeleton. It is made up of a number of bony parts - 7 in the skull proper (neurocranium) and 14 in the facial area (splanchnocranium). There are five main skull sections - one occipital, two frontal, two parietal. The sections are fused together in adults along sutures - metopic, coronal, sagittal and lambdoid. At birth these sutures are fibrous and moveable, necessary for birth and later growth. At the points where sutures meet are fontanelles, the main ones are the anterior and posterior. The anterior fontanelle is at the junction of the frontal and parietal bones, it is a 'soft spot' on the heads of babies that can remain up to around two years of age.

If the brain is bruised or injured it can be extremely serious. Normally the skull protects the brain from damage through its hard unyieldingness, but in cases of head injury (eg. subdural haematoma[?]) the intercranial pressure[?] can cause brain damage[?] unless an immediate operation is performed. This is why patients with concussion[?] must be watched extremely carefully.

In earlier times, a skull operation called trepanation often performed for semi-mystical reasons as well as as an attempted life-saving technique.

The skull also contains the sinus cavity.

Bones of the human skull

Cranial bones:

Facial bones:

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