Fig. 42-15. Superior aspect of the sphenoid and occipital bones. These two elements, separated by cartilage in the child, become united by bone at about puberty. The body, paired greater wings, and paired lesser wings of the sphenoid can be identified, but the pterygoid processes are not seen in this view. Note the crescentic row of openings in the greater wing: superior orbital fissure (arrow), foramen rotundum, foramen ovale, and foramen spinosum. Of these openings, only the last two would be visible from below (see fig. 42-13). The four chief parts of the occipital bone (basilar, two lateral, and squamous) can be seen around the foramen magnum. The area marked with an asterisk articulates with a corresponding area on the temporal bone. The wide gap between the greater wing of the sphenoid and the basilar part of the occipital bone would be occupied by the petrous part of the temporal bone (see fig. 42-19). The apical area at the junction of the three bones, however, remains cartilaginous and, in the dried skull, is known as the foramen lacerum. Click for high resolution image.

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