COMPARING THE HUMAN SKULL TO THAT OF OTHER VERTEBRATES: THE OCCIPITAL BONE

The human temporal and occipital bones form part of the cranium which protects the brain. The occipital bone includes the occipital condyles where the skull articulates with the vertebral column and the foramen magnum where the spinal cord enters the brain. Do other vertebrates possess an occipital bone in their skulls (or the separate regions which fuse to form the occipital in human embryos)? If so, what are the similarities or differences? Is there any feature which specifically adapts thes bones for the human condition? (You may click on the images to enlarge them.)

bowfin and salamander skulls

bowfinsalamander

platypus, opossum, and lemur skulls

platypusopossumlemur

tarsier, marmoset, and bonobo chimp skulls

tarsiermarmosetchimp

WHAT SPECIFIC SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES DID YOU NOTICE BETWEEN THE HUMAN STRUCTURES AND THOSE OF OTHER VERTEBRATES? HOW DO THESE STRUCTURAL SIMILARITIES/DIFFERENCES COMPARE TO SIMILARITIES/DIFFERENCES IN LIFESTYLE? WHAT MAKES HUMANS UNIQUE? WHAT RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ORGANISMS DO YOU FEEL ARE SUPPORTED BY YOUR COMPARISONS OF THEIR FEATURES? WHAT FEATURES DO YOU FEEL DEFINE A PARTICULAR GROUP?
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