Development of the Skull

In short, both regions of the skull come from different processes

Image from Langman’s Embryology.
  1. Neurocranium is derived from
    1.  Chondrocranium (i.e. the cartilaginous neurocranium)
      • This is the aspect of the skull which covers the brain
      • Cartilage model develops into bone via endochondral ossification
    2. Membranous neurocranium
      • Develops from mesenchyme via intramembranous ossification
  2. Viscerocranium
    • Develops from mesenchyme via intramembranous ossification (like the membranous neurocranium)
      • The tissue comes from the facial prominences from the 1st and 2nd pharyngeal arches 

Baby Skulls
  • At birth, babies have the following features:
    • Large neurocranium
    • Small viscerocranium
    • Large orbits
    • Shallow mandible
    • Toothless
    • Angular prominences at the parietal and frontal bones
  • Fontanelles and sutures are another key feature of baby skulls:
    • Anterior
    • Posterior
    • Sphenoidal (anterolateral)
    • Temporal (posterolateral)
    • : rontal )ones Anterior fontanelle Sagittal suture Posterior fontanelle Occipital Metopic suture Coronal suture Parietal Lambdoil suture

  • These features allow for:
    1. Safe birth
    2. Growth of soft tissue within the cranium (e.g. brain, facial tissues)


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