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A suture is a type of fibrous joint (or synarthrosis) which only occurs in the skull (or "cranium"). It is normal for many of the bones of the skull to remain unfused at birth. The term "fontanelle" is used to describe the resulting "soft spots. " The relative positions of the bones continue to change during the life of the adult (though less rapidly), which can provide useful information in forensics and archaeology. In old age, cranial sutures may ossify (turn to bone) completely.
A tiny amount of movement is permitted at sutures, which contributes to the compliance and elasticity of the skull. The joint between the mandible and the cranium, known as the temporomandibular joint, forms the only non-sutured joint in the skull. Most sutures are named for the bones that they articulate, but some have special names of their own .
Lateral View of a Skull Showing Sutures
The dotted red lines indicate the location of skull sutures.
Sutures primarily visible from the side (norma lateralis) include:
Coronal suture - between the frontal and parietal bones
Lambdoid suture - between the parietal, temporal and occipital bones
Squamosal suture - between the parietal and the temporal bone
Sutures primarily visible from front (norma frontalis) or above (norma verticalis) include:
Frontal suture or metopic suture - between the two frontal bones, prior to the fusion of the two into a single bone
Sagittal suture - along the midline, between parietal bones
Sutures primarily visible from below (norma basalis) or inside include:
based on the presence of the anterior fontanelle, the individual was in his/her 20s, based on the presence of the metopic suture, the individual was in his/her 40s, based on the absence of the temporomandibular suture, the individual was in his/her teens, and based on the absence of the sagittal suture, the individual was in his/her 60s
Source: Boundless. “Unique Features of the Skull: Sutures.” Boundless Anatomy and Physiology. Boundless, 26 Jun. 2015. Retrieved 27 Jun. 2015 from https://www.boundless.com/physiology/textbooks/boundless-anatomy-and-physiology-textbook/the-skeletal-system-7/the-skull-79/unique-features-of-the-skull-sutures-463-1290/