Occipital Bone

Original Editor- Hannah Hassel Top Contributors - Mande Jooste, Hannah Hassell, Kim Jackson and Tony Lowe

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The Occipital bone is a trapezoidal-shaped bone forming the base of the skull. It is situated at the the lower and back part of the cranium. The large oval opening in the bone is called the foramen magnum through which the spinal cord exits the cranial vault.


The occipital bone articulate with six bones:

  • Two temporal bones
  • Two parietal bones
  • Sphenoid bone
  • Atlas

Muscle attachments

Superior curved line: Occipito frontalis; Trapezius; Sternocleidomastoid

Space between the curved lines: Complexus; Splenius capitis; Obliquus superior

Inferior curved line and space between it and the foramen magnum: Rectus posticus major and minor

Transverse process: Rectus lateralis

Basilar process: Rectus antics major and minor; Superior constrictor of pharynx[1]Occipital bone.png

Clinical relevance

Basilar skull fracture


See also related research

Occipital neuralgia[2]


  1. Gray H, Anatomy, descriptive and surgical, 8th edition, Philadelphia, Collins, June, 1878
  2. Dougherty, C. Curr Pain Headache Rep (2014) 18: 411. https://doi-org.uplib.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s11916-014-0411-x