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Temporal bone: want to learn more about it?

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Temporal bone

Learning objectives:

This study unit will help you to:

1. Locate the temporal bone on different views of the skull.
2. Name the three main parts of the temporal bone and their features.
3. Identify the neurovascular structures and organs related to the bony features of the temporal bone.
4. Identify the bones that articulate with the temporal bone.

Watch videos

The temporal bone is a complex cranial bone that constitutes a large portion of the lateral wall and base of the skull. There are a number of openings and canals in the temporal bone through which structures enter and exit the cranial cavity. The temporal bone also houses the structures forming the middle and inner ear.

This video tutorial will provide you with an overview of the temporal bone.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the video about the temporal bone, solidify your knowledge by taking our quiz.

To shift your focus and choose the topics you’ll get quizzed on, try out our customizable quiz:

Browse atlas

In the following galleries, you can look at each feature of the temporal bone from lateral, medial, inferior and superior views. 

Lateral view:

Medial view

Inferior view

Superior view

Summary

Key points about the temporal bone
Main parts Petrous part
Tympanic part
Squamous part
Articulations Occipital bone, parietal bone, sphenoid bone, zygomatic bone and mandible
Fissures Petrotympanic fissure
Petrosquamous fissure
Tympanosquamous fissure
Tympanomastoid fissure
Bony features Petrous part: occipital margin, mastoid process, mastoid notch, mastoid foramen, apex of petrous part, carotid canal, tegmen tympani, arcuate eminence, bony labyrinth, internal acoustic meatus, subarcuate fossa, jugular fossa, styloid process, stylomastoid foramen, groove for sigmoid sinus, tympanic cavity
Tympanic part
: bony external acoustic opening, bony external acoustic meatus
Squamous part
: sphenoidal margin, parietal margin, parietal notch, groove for middle temporal artery, zygomatic process, mandibular fossa, articular tubercle, groove for middle meningeal artery

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Continue your learning

Now that you're familiar with the general organization of the temporal bone, continue your learning by reading about the base of the skull from different perspectives.

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