The nasal bones are two small oblong
bone A bone is a rigid organ that constitutes part of the skeleton in most vertebrate animals. Bones protect the various other organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells, store minerals, provide structure and support for the body, and ...
s, varying in size and form in different individuals; they are placed side by side at the middle and upper part of the
face The face is the front of an animal's head that features the eyes, nose and mouth, and through which animals express many of their emotions. The face is crucial for human identity, and damage such as scarring or developmental deformities may aff ...
and by their junction, form the
bridge A bridge is a structure built to span a physical obstacle (such as a body of water, valley, road, or rail) without blocking the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle, which is usually someth ...
of the upper one third of the
nose A nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils, or nares, which receive and expel air for respiration alongside the mouth. Behind the nose are the olfactory mucosa and the sinuses. Behind the nasal cavity, air next passes th ...
. Each has two surfaces and four borders.


The two nasal bones are joined at the midline internasal suture and make up the bridge of the nose.


The ''outer surface'' is concavo-convex from above downward, convex from side to side; it is covered by the
procerus The procerus muscle (or pyramidalis nasi) is a small pyramidal slip of muscle deep to the superior orbital nerve, artery and vein. ''Procerus'' is Latin, meaning tall or extended. Structure The procerus muscle arises by tendinous fibers from t ...
and nasalis muscles, and perforated about its center by a foramen, for the transmission of a small
vein Veins are blood vessels in humans and most other animals that carry blood towards the heart. Most veins carry deoxygenated blood from the tissues back to the heart; exceptions are the pulmonary and umbilical veins, both of which carry oxygenate ...
. The ''inner surface'' is concave from side to side, and is traversed from above downward, by a groove for the passage of a branch of the
nasociliary nerve The nasociliary nerve is a branch of the ophthalmic nerve, itself a branch of the trigeminal nerve (CN V). It is intermediate in size between the other two branches of the ophthalmic nerve, the frontal nerve and lacrimal nerve. Structure The na ...


The nasal articulates with four bones: two of the cranium, the
frontal Front may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''The Front'' (1943 film), a 1943 Soviet drama film * '' The Front'', 1976 film Music * The Front (band), an American rock band signed to Columbia Records and active in the 1980s and ...
ethmoid The ethmoid bone (; from grc, ἡθμός, hēthmós, sieve) is an unpaired bone in the skull that separates the nasal cavity from the brain. It is located at the roof of the nose, between the two orbits. The cubical bone is lightweight due to a ...
, and two of the face, the opposite nasal and the
maxilla The maxilla (plural: ''maxillae'' ) in vertebrates is the upper fixed (not fixed in Neopterygii) bone of the jaw formed from the fusion of two maxillary bones. In humans, the upper jaw includes the hard palate in the front of the mouth. Th ...

Other animals

In primitive bony fish and
tetrapod Tetrapods (; ) are four- limbed vertebrate animals constituting the superclass Tetrapoda (). It includes extant and extinct amphibians, sauropsids (reptiles, including dinosaurs and therefore birds) and synapsids ( pelycosaurs, extinct theraps ...
s, the nasal bones are the most anterior of a set of four paired bones forming the roof of the skull, being followed in sequence by the frontals, the parietals, and the postparietals. Their form in living species is highly variable, depending on the shape of the head, but they generally form the roof of the snout or beak, running from the nostrils to a position short of the orbits. In most animals, they are generally therefore proportionally larger than in humans or great apes, because of the shortened faces of the latter.
Turtle Turtles are an order of reptiles known as Testudines, characterized by a special shell developed mainly from their ribs. Modern turtles are divided into two major groups, the Pleurodira (side necked turtles) and Cryptodira (hidden necked t ...
s, unusually, lack nasal bones, with the prefrontal bones of the orbit reaching all the way to the nostrils.

Additional images

Gray153.png, Lateral wall of nasal cavity, showing ethmoid bone in position. Gray155.png, Right nasal bone. Outer surface. Gray156.png, Right nasal bone. Inner surface.

See also

* Vomer * Osteology



External links

* —"Anterior view of skull." * —"Orbits and Eye: Bones" * —"The bones of the lateral nasal wall." * {{Authority control Bones of the head and neck Facial features Nose Flat bones