The inferior surface of petrous part of the temporal bone is rough and irregular, and forms part of the exterior of the base of the skull. It presents eleven points for examination:

  • (1) near the apex is a rough surface, quadrilateral in form, which serves partly for the attachment of the Levator veli palatini and the cartilaginous portion of the auditory tube, and partly for connection with the basilar part of the occipital bone through the intervention of some dense fibrous tissue;
  • (2) behind this is the large circular aperture of the carotid canal, which ascends at first vertically, and then, making a bend, runs horizontally forward and medialward; it transmits into the cranium the internal carotid artery, and the carotid plexus of nerves;
  • (3) medial to the opening for the carotid canal and close to its posterior border, in front of the jugular fossa, is a triangular depression; at the apex of this is a small opening, the aquæductus cochleæ, which lodges a tubular prolongation of the dura mater establishing a communication between the perilymphatic space and the subarachnoid space, and transmits a vein from the cochlea to join the internal jugular;
  • (4) behind these openings is a deep depression, the jugular fossa, of variable depth and size in different skulls; it lodges the bulb of the internal jugular vein;
  • (5) in the bony ridge dividing the carotid canal from the jugular fossa is the small inferior tympanic canaliculus for the passage of the tympanic branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve;
  • (6) in the lateral part of the jugular fossa is themastoid canaliculus for the entrance of the auricular branch of the vagus nerve;
  • (7) behind the jugular fossa is a quadrilateral area, the jugular surface, covered with cartilage in the fresh state, and articulating with the jugular process of the occipital bone;
  • (8) extending backward from the carotid canal is the vaginal process, a sheath-like plate of bone, which divides behind into two laminæ; the lateral lamina is continuous with the tympanic part of the bone, the medial with the lateral margin of the jugular surface;
  • (9) between these laminæ is the styloid process, a sharp spine, about 2.5 cm. in length; (
  • 10) between the styloid and mastoid processes is the stylomastoid foramen; it is the termination of the facial canal, and transmits the facial nerve and stylomastoid artery;
  • (11) situated between the tympanic portion and the mastoid process is the tympanomastoid fissure, for the exit of the auricular branch of the vagus nerve.

This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from http://www.bartleby.com/107/).


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