Difference Between Skull and Cranium

Main Difference

The main difference between the Skull and the Cranium is that Skull is made up of both facial bones and the cranium, whereas Cranium is a part of the skull that covers the brain.

Skull vs. Cranium

Skull and cranium are the two terms which are used to describe the skeletal structures of the head. The chief function of them is that they protect the brain and all the other internal structures which are present in the head. Skull is the protective structure of the bones which hosts the brain and supports the face, whereas, the cranium is a part of the skull and is also called as neurocranium. It covers and protects the brain along with the cerebral vasculature and the meninges. The human skull is a complex structure, and it consists of 22 bones which chiefly comprises of facial bones (14) and cranial bones (8), while, the cranium is a subdivision of the skull that comprises of 8 bones, which enfold the brain. These eight bones are frontal, occipital, parietal (2), ethmoid, sphenoid, and temporal (2). The frontal bone and the parietal bones are the largest among these bones. Skull is composed of numerous bones, made up through the intramembranous ossification and are joined together by the fibrous joints which are called sutures. These joints are immovable. At the age of 20, they completely fused together. Face and cranium and are the two central parts of the skull. Cranium, on the other hand, also has two central parts; which are the cranial base and the roof or the calvarium.

Comparison Chart

SkullCranium
Skull is a framework of bones that enfolds the head of a vertebrate.Cranium is a portion of the skull that enfolds the brain.
Composition
Skull is made up of both facial bones and the cranium.Cranium is made up of the bones that do not move and is the upper part of the skull.
No of Bones
Skull is made up of 22 bones.Cranium is made up of 8 bones.
Movement
The only bone of the skull which can move is Mandible.All the bones of the cranium are immobile.
Function
The main function of the brain is protection, attachment of the muscles of the face, and determination of the facial features.The most important function of the cranium is the protection of the brain, the cerebral vasculature, and the meninges.
Cavities
Skull has smaller sinuses and the cranial cavity.Cranium creates the cranial cavity wherein the brain is situated.

What is Skull?

Skull is a framework of bones that holds the head of a vertebrate. The position of the skull is on the atlas of the vertebral column. It is made up of both facial bones and the cranium. The face is made up of 14 bones, and there are 8 bones which make the cranium. Furthermore, the hyoid bones and the ossicles of the ear are also thought as the bones of the skull. Therefore, the total number of bones in the skull becomes 29. Viscerocranium is suggested as another name for the facial skeleton. The site for the attachment of muscles of the face is offered by viscerocranium (the facial skeleton), and it also determines the facial features. Facial bones also make passages to the digestive and the respiratory systems. The most important cavity of the skull that holds the brain is called the cranium cavity. The other numerous cavities which are found within the skull are called the sinuses that accommodate the equilibrium structures and the hearing. The great architectural strategy of the skull reveals itself in many functions. The most important of them is that it protects the most important organ of our nervous system; the brain. Also, the skull is involved in breathing, vision, speech, and hearing.

What is Cranium?

Cranium is a portion of the skull that holds the brain. It is also called as the neurocranium. It has a function of protecting the brain along with the cerebral vasculature and the meninges. Besides, the skull is involved in providing a surface for the attachment of muscles that helps in the movement of the head, and it also supports the sense organs that are located in the head. The walls of cranial are made up of two plates. The edge of every bone is joined with a next to the bone edge with the help of fibrous interlocking joints, which are called ‘sutures.’ The sutures are distinctive to the cranial bones. The two central parts of the cranium are the cranial base and the roof or the calvarium. Calvarium is made up of the occipital, frontal and two parietal bones. The cranial base is made up of six bones, i.e., frontal, ethmoid, occipital, sphenoid, parietal, and the temporal bones. The cranial base offers the articulation point for the atlas.

Key Differences

  1. Skull is a framework of bones that enfolds the head of a vertebrate, whereas, the cranium is a portion of the skull that holds the brain.
  2. Skull is made up of both facial bones and the cranium; on the other hand, cranium is made up of the bones that do not move and is the upper part of the skull.
  3. Skull is made up of 22 bones, on the flip side, the cranium is made up of 8 bones.
  4. The only bone of the skull which can move is Mandible. All the other bones of the skull are immobile; on the other side, all the bones of the cranium are immobile.
  5. The main function of the brain is protection, attachment of the muscles of face and determination of the facial features, while, the most important function of the cranium is the protection of the brain, the cerebral vasculature, and the meninges.
  6. Skull has smaller sinuses and the cranial cavity, on the other hand, cranium creates the cranial cavity wherein the brain is situated.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

All of the above discussion summarizes that the skull is a skeletal structure that covers the head and the face, whereas, the cranium is a portion of the skull that holds the brain.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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