The most complex part of the skeleton is the skull. It is made of many bones that fit together tightly, to protect the brain and support the face.

The cranium is the domed part of your skull, the brain fills most of the cranium. The frontal bone forms your forehead. Eye sockets are made up of seven different bones. The front of the nose has no bones. Teeth are set into the upper and lower jaws.


The upper part of the skull is like a helmet that protects the brain. The lower part forms a structure for your facial features to attach to.

Facial features

This image shows the relationship between your skull and face. There are no bones shaping the front part of your nose, your lips, or your ears. Your nose and ears are shaped by cartilage.


The skull bones fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw. All but one of the bones are locked in place. This makes the skull very strong. The lower jaw is
hinged. It is the only skull bone that can move. There are two parts to the upper jaw.

Hole in the head

From underneath you can clearly see the big hole at the bottom of this skull. The spinal cord – which runs down your back – meets your brain here. Blood vessels pass through small holes in the skull.

Meet the relatives

Chimpanzees and humans share a common ancestor. However, chimps have smaller brains than humans so their craniums are smaller. Chimps also have a large ridge above their eyes, and a jutting jaw.

Face from the past

Scientists can work out what a dead person’s face looked like from their skull alone. They examine the facial bones and build up artificial cartilage, muscle, and skin over them.

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