Cranial cavity

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lateral view of the opened cranial cavity of the human being

The cranial cavity ( Cavum cranii ) is the cavity formed by the bones of the brain skull in which the brain is located. In mammals , these are occipital , parietal , temporal , wedge , frontal and ethmoid bones .

The floor of the cranial cavity is formed by the base of the skull and divided into three sections: anterior ( fossa cranii anterior , in animals fossa cranii rostralis ), middle ( fossa cranii media ) and posterior cranial fossa ( fossa cranii posterior , in animals fossa cranii caudalis ).

The roof of the cranial cavity is also known as the skullcap and bears the cerebellar tent ( tentorium cerebelli osseum ) inside as a particularly noticeable protrusion , which sinks between the cerebellum and the cerebrum .

The largest opening in the cranial cavity is the foramen magnum , through which the brain communicates with the spinal cord . There are also numerous other openings for the cranial nerves and blood vessels of the brain to pass through .

The cranial cavity offers good mechanical protection for the brain against external influences. However, space-occupying processes within the cranial cavity ( brain tumors , cerebral hemorrhage , subarachnoid hemorrhage , hydrocephalus , pneumocephalus ) quickly lead to an increase in intracranial pressure (see also Monro-Kellie Doctrine ) and thus usually to brain damage.

Overview of the individual body cavities


  • Franz-Viktor Salomon: skeleton of the head . In: Franz-Viktor Salomon et al. (Ed.): Anatomy for veterinary medicine . Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-8304-1007-7 , pp. 80-110.
  • Wolfgang Dauber, Heinz Feneis: Feneis' picture lexicon of anatomy . 9th edition Thieme, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-13-330109-8 .