Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them] | Chapter 10 On The Lower Maxilla

The human jaw is made virtually from a single bone

In most animals, the maxilla consists of two bones at the end of the chin where the jaw


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ends at a point [protuberantia mentalis], attached to each other by union [symphysis]. In man, however, the maxilla consists of a single bone, and it is broad at the end of the chin, not sharp as in animals. Nowhere is the jaw more difficult to split apart than here. I have yet to see it loosened by boiling or by decay in the earth; and though I have inspected a very large number of jawbones (as well as other bones) particularly in the Cemetery of the Innocents at Paris 7 — among other places — never have I seen one split into two halves. The jawbones of dogs, cattle, and asses are often pulled apart with little effort even without boiling. Yet Galen 8 and most other anatomists after Hippocrates 9 have stated that the maxilla is not a single bone but after being boiled is loosened at the outermost extremity of the chin, and from this evidence it is clearly a composite. However that may be, up to this time no human jawbone has come to my attention constructed (as I was saying) 10 of a double bone; and though perhaps among so many myriads of people I might sometime observe some such bone in some doglike person or infant, 11 I would not therefore be in a hurry to state that the human maxilla consists of a double bone. Rather I should agree with Celsus, or with that Greek author from whom Celsus borrowed whatever he passed on about the bones, who unlike Galen cared little about dogs 12 and taught that the jaw is composed of a single bone. 13 Even if the jawbone is formed in children out of two bones attached by symphysis, still we would not rightly say that the maxilla is simply formed of a double bone unless we also granted that the occipital bone, vertebrae, and the bones attached to the sides of the sacrum are constructed of several bones — since no one would deny that these bones were fashioned in children out of several bones attached to each other by union.



Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them] | Chapter 10 On The Lower Maxilla