Anatomy Atlas Part 4 – Skull

This is no Jolly Roger, but it looks grim nevertheless. I do not think any other part of human skeleton is more evocative than skulls. And I wonder sometimes whether this is a purely a cultural thing, or whether there is something innate in us that associates skulls with death, danger and general unpleasantness. There might be, because our brains are clearly predisposed to recognizing facial features.

Content warning for description of a very unpleasant medical procedure.

Skull Drawing

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The four dots at the jaw bones – bellow the eye sockets in each maxilla and two on the chin on mandibula –  and two dots above the eye sockets are points where the nervus trigeminus exits the protective shell of the skull to innervate facial muscles. That is why these points are more sensitive to pressure than other parts of the face. Professor Kos told us that an inflammation of this nerve is allegedly the most painful illness there is. The whole face hurts and a feather caressing the cheek may feel like being burned with hot poker. One way to reduce the pain in very severe inflammation cases (I do not remember whether this was an old procedure or one or still in use) was to inject a powerful neurotoxin directly into these points. Extremely painful procedure, but one that provided the needed long relief. He told us the patients would scream and sometimes pass out. And the neurotoxin used? Alcohol.

Nervus trigeminus is near surface once more just behind mandibula, right bellow the ear lobe. This knowledge has helped me twice in self-defence, once when I was held in chokehold but I managed to slide my hand to my attackers head and drill my forefinger into this point and second time when another person was having their arm twisted by a wannabe teenage ninja. The pain is so intense, that anyone will let go of anything they hold and try to get their head dout of the way. If you feel brave you can experiment on yourself. I did. I do not recommend it.


  1. Raucous Indignation says

    Nicely done, but all the action is on the inside of the cranium and the base of skull.

  2. rq says

    Beautifully rendered. I love the seams of the skull plates, they can be used for identification (if you have a comparison) and for age determination; those crooked little lines have stories of their own.
    As for the nervus trigeminus, I know the feeling (I’ve had mild inflammation, whee). Except the pressure point doesn’t seem to work on me too well, in the close-combat classes I went through last autumn, the instructor wanted to prove to the class the power of the under earlobe pressure point. What he didn’t know is that I like to make a point, as well, so I didn’t let go and he needed another volunteer. But I have odd facial nerves anyway, I don’t get tooth pain of any kind, even post-operational (I think it’s genetic, my grandma also never had issues with tooth pain, even after pretty important procedures.

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