Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Cranial Fossa

One of three depressions in the floor of the cranium. The anterior cranial fossa lies above the orbits and is composed of portions of the ethmoid, sphenoid, and frontal bones; in life it receives the frontal lobe of the brain. The middle cranial fossa is located behind the orbits and is composed of parts of the sphenoid and temporal bones; it houses the temporal lobe of the brain. The posterior cranial fossa is the largest and deepest fossa and extends from the dorsum sella of the sphenoid to the floor of the occipital bone. It is also composed of parts of the temporal and parietal bones. In life it receives the occipital lobe and cerebellum of the brain; the foramen magnum, which transits the spinal cord, is also in this fossa. Plural: cranial fossae.

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