Original paper

Absence of foramen spinosum and abnormal middle meningeal artery in cranial series

Nikolova, Silviya Y.; Toneva, Diana H.; Yordanov, Yordan A.; Lazarov, Nikolai E.

Anthropologischer Anzeiger Volume 69 No. 3 (2012), p. 351 - 366

published: Jul 1, 2012

DOI: 10.1127/0003-5548/2012/0165

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP140006903008, Price: 29.00 €

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In comparative and evolutionary aspects in humans, the middle meningeal artery enters the cranium through the foramen spinosum, whereas in great apes the middle meningeal artery can enter the cranium through foramen spinosum, through foramen ovale or through petrosphenoid fissure. Generally, in nonhuman primates the anterior meningeal system is associated with the ophthalmic branch of the internal carotid artery. The vessels joining the two systems pass through the additional channels: the superior orbital fissure or through the cranio-orbital foramen. In anatomically modern humans, the absence of foramen spinosum involves abnormal development and course of the middle meningeal artery and it is usually accompanied with replacement of the conventional middle meningeal artery with such, arising from the ophthalmic artery system. In these cases the middle meningeal artery most often enters the middle cranial fossa through the superior orbital fissure and rarely through the meningo-orbital foramen. All skulls, investigated in the present study, belonged to adult individuals of both sexes, conditionally grouped into three cranial series - contemporary male, medieval male, and medieval female series. The absence of foramen spinosum was established only among the medieval male and female series - in 1 (0.70%) male and in 1 (0.72%) female skull on the right side and in 3 (2.13%) female skulls on the left side. In 1 (0.72%) female skull, a small atypically located foramen spinosum was established on the right side. In all of the described cases, the intracranial meningeal grooves started from the lateral edge of the superior orbital fissure and probably reflect the ophthalmic origin of the middle meningeal artery.


foramen spinosum absencemeningo-orbital foramenmiddle meningeal arteryophthalmic arterystapedial artery