Dictionary » F » Foramen magnum

Foramen magnum



A large opening in the anterior inferior portion of occipital bone in the cranium that serves an outlet of the spinal cord and medulla to enter from the skull to the vertebral column.


Foramen magnum is one of the largest openings or canals situated at the base of the skull to permit the route of blood vessels, nerves, cerebrospinal fluid and connective tissue into and out of the brain. It also covey the spinal component of the accessory nerve into the cranial fossa and transmits the anterior and posterior spinal arteries, vertebral arteries and alar ligaments.

The foramen magnum in humans are exceptional compare to other mammals since it is frontward in the occipital bone from the back of the skull beneath the center mass of the skull and brain, thus neck muscles of humans need not to be as tough in order to hold the head upright. Unlike in quadriped mammals in order to create better balance the neck bones and muscles are proportionately smaller. On the other hand, head and brains in humans are relatively larger compare to the upper cervical spine, as consequent human are susceptible to slip and fall kinds of injuries.

Word Origin: foramen= “hole” + magnum= “large

Synonym: great foramen

See also:

cranial bone

posterior cranial fossa

Please contribute to this project, if you have more information about this term feel free to edit this page

Results from our forum

Religion Vs. Science

... about four times the energy than walking upright. The hominids whose foramen magnum moved inferiorly needed to walk upright to see. The ones who did not follow suit expended ...

See entire post
by plasmodesmata11
Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:53 am
Forum: General Discussion
Topic: Religion Vs. Science
Replies: 15
Views: 11467

The Fiber Disease

... organisms were removed from the back region of her scalp above the magnum foramen. Sabrina appeared very weak with ashen gray skin color with slurred speech. She had ...

See entire post
Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:19 am
Forum: Human Biology
Topic: The Fiber Disease
Replies: 7403
Views: 6243053

This page was last modified 13:32, 28 August 2014. This page has been accessed 3,528 times. 
What links here | Related changes | Permanent link