Side view of the skull.
Human skull side suturas right
A suture is a type of fibrous joint which only occurs in the skull (or "cranium"). They are bound together by Sharpey's fibres. A tiny amount of movement is permitted at sutures, which contributes to the compliance and elasticity of the skull.
These joints are synarthroses. It is normal for many of the bones of the skull to remain unfused at birth. The fusion of the skull's bones at birth is known as craniosynostosis. The term "fontanelle" is used to describe the resulting "soft spots". The relative positions of the bones continue to change during the life of the adult (though less rapidly), which can provide useful information in forensics and archaeology. In old age, cranial sutures may ossify (turn to bone) completely.[verification needed]
The joints between the teeth and the joint between the mandible and the cranium, the temporomandibular joint, form the only non-sutured joints in the skull.
List of sutures
Most sutures are named for the bones they articulate, but some have special names of their own.
Primarily visible from the side (norma lateralis)
- Coronal suture - between the frontal and parietal bones
- Lambdoid suture - between the parietal and occipital bones and continuous with the occipitomastoid suture
- Occipitomastoid suture - between the occipital and temporal bones and continuous with the lambdoid suture
- Parietomastoid suture
- Sphenofrontal suture
- Sphenoparietal suture
- Sphenosquamosal suture
- Sphenozygomatic suture
- Squamosal suture - between the parietal and the temporal bone
- Zygomaticotemporal suture
- Zygomaticofrontal suture
Primarily visible from front (norma frontalis) or above (norma verticalis)
- Frontal suture / Metopic suture - between the two frontal bones, prior to the fusion of the two into a single bone
- Sagittal suture - along the midline, between parietal bones
Primarily visible from below (norma basalis) or inside
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