Human Skull Anatomy diagram

The human skull is one of the most complex structures in the human skeleton. It houses the foundations for the sense of smell, sight, taste & hearing, alongside the housing of the brain. It also provides the framework for the first processes of digestion by mastication of food with the use of the teeth anchored in mandible and maxilla bones (White & Folkens 2005: 75). White & Folkens (2005) go on to note that it is of value that the key anatomical landmarks of the skull are noted. These include the Orbits of the eye sockets, the Anterior Nasal Aperture (nose hole), External Auditory Meati (ear canals), the Zygomatic Arches (cheek bones) along with the Foramen Magnum (base of the skull). It is by these landmarks that we can orientate the skeletal elements if they are disarticulated or have been broken (White & Folkens 2005: 75).

Excavation

Particular care should be taken when excavating the skull, or any human skeletal element. Careful consideration should be made of its location, burial type, any nearby skeletons, and of course any different stratigraphic (colour/cut/fill) features present should be noted (Mays 1999). As this is the only chance to lift the skeleton since deposition, careful notes should be made on first impression and any post depositional changes that can be immediately identified. Careful sieving of the soil matrix around the skull should take place, to help retain any small fragments of bone or lose teeth (whole and partial fragments) (Mays 1999). Differential preservation, dependent on deposition & burial environment conditions, will mean that it is likely sections of the skull will not survive. These are often the small, delicate bones located inside the cranial-facial portion of the skull. The likeliest to survive portions are the mandible and the cranial plate elements because of their tough biological nature.

Handling

When handling the skull it should be noted of the above major landmarks. For example, you will not damage the skull whilst carefully holding it in both your hands but if you hold it by the orbits you are liable to damage the surrounding bone. The foramen magnum is usually stable and strong it to withstand creeping fingers as a hold place. Whilst studying the skull on a desk, a padded surface should be provided for it to rest upon. Care should be taken when handling the mandible, and temptation should be resisted in testing the mechanical properties of the surrounding bone (Mays 1999).

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Q&A

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What is the definition of memory in connection with psychology?

The definition of memory in connection with psychology is based upon recalling information. This is done when remembering things that are learned, information that was retained such as a phone number, recalling information, and also recognition (a song lyric for example).

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