Zygomatic bone

Zygomatic bone
Bone: Zygomatic bone
Left zygomatic bone in situ.
Side view of the teeth and jaws. (Zygomatic visible in center.)
Latin os zygomaticum, zygoma
Gray's subject #40 164

The zygomatic bone (cheekbone, malar bone) is a paired bone of the human skull. It articulates with the maxilla, the temporal bone, the sphenoid bone and the frontal bone. The zygomatic is homologous to the jugal bone of other tetrapods. It is situated at the upper and lateral part of the face and forms the prominence of the cheek, part of the lateral wall and floor of the orbit, and parts of the temporal and infratemporal fossa. It presents a malar and a temporal surface; four processes, the frontosphenoidal, orbital, maxillary, and temporal; and four borders.

The term zygomatic derives from the Greek Ζυγόμα zygoma meaning "yoke". The zygomatic bone is occasionally referred to as the zygoma, but this term may also refer to the zygomatic arch or the zygomatic process.



The malar surface is convex and perforated near its center by a small aperture, the zygomaticofacial foramen, for the passage of the zygomaticofacial nerve and vessels; below this foramen is a slight elevation, which gives origin to the Zygomaticus.

The temporal surface, directed posteriorly and medially, is concave, presenting medially a rough, triangular area, for articulation with the maxilla (articular surface), and laterally a smooth, concave surface, the upper part of which forms the anterior boundary of the temporal fossa, the lower a part of the infratemporal fossa. Near the center of this surface is the zygomaticotemporal foramen for the transmission of the zygomaticotemporal nerve.


The zygomatic process is a protrusion from the rest of the skull, like the bumper of a car. Most of it belongs to the zygomatic bone, but there are other bones contributing to it too, namely the frontal bone, maxilla and temporal bone.


The antero-superior or orbital border is smooth, concave, and forms a considerable part of the circumference of the orbit.

The antero-inferior or maxillary border is rough, and bevelled at the expense of its inner table, to articulate with the maxilla; near the orbital margin it gives origin to the Quadratus labii superioris.

The postero-superior or temporal border, curved like an italic letter f, is continuous above with the commencement of the temporal line, and below with the upper border of the zygomatic arch; the temporal fascia is attached to it.

The postero-inferior or zygomatic border affords attachment by its rough edge to the Masseter.

Zygomatic bone


The zygomatic bone is generally described as ossifying from three centers - one for the malar and two for the orbital portion; these appear about the eighth week and fuse about the fifth month of fetal life.

Mall describes it as being ossified from one center which appears just beneath and to the lateral side of the orbit.

After birth, the bone is sometimes divided by a horizontal suture into an upper larger, and a lower smaller division.

In some quadrumana the zygomatic bone consists of two parts, an orbital and a malar.


The zygomatic articulates with four bones: the frontal, sphenoidal, temporal, and maxilla.

In other animals

In non-mammalian vertebrates, the zygomatic bone is referred to as the jugal bone, since these animals have no zygomatic arch. In coelacanths and early tetrapods the bone is relatively large. Here, it is a plate-like bone forming the lower margin of the orbit and much of the side of the face. In ray-finned fishes it is reduced or absent, and the entire cheek region is generally small. The bone is also absent in living amphibians.[1]

With the exception of turtles, the jugal bone in reptiles forms a relatively narrow bar separating the orbit from the inferior temporal fenestra, of which it may also form the lower boundary. The bone is similarly reduced in birds. In mammals, it takes on broadly the form seen in humans, with the bar between the orbit and fenestra vanishing entirely, and only the lower boundary of the fenestra remaining, as the zygomatic arch.[1]

Additional illustrations


Pronounced cheekbones are seen as a sign of beauty in Western culture.[2]

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b Romer, Alfred Sherwood; Parsons, Thomas S. (1977). The Vertebrate Body. Philadelphia, PA: Holt-Saunders International. pp. 217–241. ISBN 0-03-910284-X. 
  2. ^ http://www.newsdial.com/relationships/dating/male-attractiveness.html

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained within it may be outdated.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • zygomatic bone — n. Anat. a bone of the zygomatic arch on either side of the face, forming the prominence of each cheek; cheekbone: see SKULL …   English World dictionary

  • Zygomatic bone — The part of the temporal bone of the skull that forms the prominence of the cheek. The zygomatic bone is also known as the zygomatic arch, the zygoma, the malar bone, the cheek bone and the yoke bone. The word zygomatic comes from the Greek zygon …   Medical dictionary

  • zygomatic bone — Anat. a bone on each side of the face below the eye, forming the prominence of the cheek; cheekbone. Also called malar, malar bone. See diag. under skull. [1700 10] * * * ▪ anatomy also called  cheekbone , or  malar bone        diamond shaped… …   Universalium

  • zygomatic bone — noun the arch of bone beneath the eye that forms the prominence of the cheek • Syn: ↑cheekbone, ↑zygomatic, ↑malar, ↑malar bone, ↑jugal bone, ↑os zygomaticum • Hypernyms: ↑bone, ↑os …   Useful english dictionary

  • zygomatic bone — noun Date: 1709 a bone of the face below the eye that in mammals forms part of the zygomatic arch and part of the orbit called also cheekbone …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • zygomatic bone — zy′gomat′ic bone′ n. anat. a bone on each side of the face below the eye, forming the prominence of the cheek; cheekbone • Etymology: 1700–10 …   From formal English to slang

  • zygomatic bone — noun The cheekbone. Syn: cheekbone, zygoma, malar bone …   Wiktionary

  • zygomatic bone — noun Anatomy the bone forming the prominent part of the cheek and the outer side of the eye socket …   English new terms dictionary

  • zygomatic bone — zygoma; = malar bone either of a pair of bones that form the prominent part of the cheeks and contribute to the orbits. See: skull …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • Orbital process of the zygomatic bone — Bone: Orbital process of the zygomatic bone Left zygomatic bone. Malar surface. (Orbital proc. visible at upper left.) Latin facies orbitalis ossis zygomatici Gray s …   Wikipedia

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