Not really a part of the skull, this U-shaped bone lies in the very front of the neck between the mandible and the larynx in the level of the third cervical vertebra. It’s exceptional in the meaning that, it’s suspended from styloid processes of temporal bones by stylohyoid ligaments and it does not articulate with any bone of the body.
The hyoid bone is made from the following 5 parts:
• A body.
• A pair of greater cornu (or horns).
• A pair of lesser cornu (or horns).
In suspected cases of departure, the evaluation of hyoid bone is of great medicolegal value, because fracture of hyoid bone in such cases indicates departure by throttling or strangulation.
There are 7 cervical vertebrae, numbered 1 to 7 from above to downwards. As they need to hold less weight, they may be small in size when compared with thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. The presence of foramen in their own transverse processes termed foramen transversarium – the cardinal attribute of cervical vertebrae identifies them. The third to 6th are typical since they have common features. For individual identification, the first, second and 7th possess special features.