The structure of the skull of a cow and its constituent parts, anatomy of a horned animal

The structure of the skull of a cow and its constituent parts, anatomy of a horned animal

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A livestock breeder in modern conditions needs to know the basics of the anatomy of his wards in order to understand the features and timeliness of their development. Such information helps to improve animal care, prompt detection of diseases or congenital malformations. The patterns of alteration of the calf's skull, the state of the cow's head organs should be in the owner's control zone.

Cow skull anatomy

The skeleton of the head is called the skull. In each animal, its structure and shape differ not only in size, but also in the configurations of individual parts. It is related to the animal's lifestyle and the functioning of each bone.

Several large bones form the skull of a cow:

  • frontal;
  • parietal;
  • occipital;
  • temporal;
  • upper and lower jaw.

Cattle (cattle) have a strong frontal bone with corneous processes (except for breeds or individuals with a sign of cloddy). This bone in a bull is thicker and stronger than that of a cow. The parts of the skull listed at the beginning of the list are single. Jaw - paired. Many smaller bones have a pair symmetrical on the sides of the cow's muzzle, including:

  • nasal;
  • lacrimal;
  • intermaxillary;
  • palatine;
  • zygomatic;
  • upper and lower turbinates;
  • pterygoid.

In total, the cow has 7 skull bones in a single copy and 13 in a double number. They form cavities in which the organs of the head work and provide reliable protection for them.

Expert opinion

Zarechny Maxim Valerievich

Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.

As the cow grows and ages, the shape of the skull changes. This process can be observed especially clearly at the stage of embryonic development and the period from birth to adulthood. In newborns, the head is more rounded than in older livestock, since the brain section is more fully formed, and the jaw is weaker.

As we grow older, muscles are added, the connection of organs under increasing stress with the large bones of the skull is strengthened. So, the chewing muscles are fixed on the cerebral section. On the posterior upper edge of the cow's skull, between the horns, a frontal ridge is formed. It is typical only for cattle. Thanks to him, the horned animal, without fear for the integrity of the head, uses its weapon. However, a strong blow to the upper third of the frontal bone leads to the lightning death of a large ungulate.

What does the head consist of?

The cow's skull, along with ligaments, muscles and brain, is hidden under the skin and hair. The following organs are located on the visible part of the head.


The cows don't seem to need them. But in the wild, the female protects herself and her offspring with their help. Indeed, even the structure of the digestive tract in a cow is designed so as to store grass, quickly bite it in a dangerous place, and then, belching, chew it well. In animal husbandry, horns only add aggressiveness to females, they can ram the skin and injure the udder.

The shape of the horns is conical or helical, curved. They are based on the processes of the frontal bone. The upper layer is a dense stratum corneum, thickened at the bends. The surface is smooth, but transverse rings are often visible, reflecting the stages of horn growth.

Indeed, throughout the year, both bulls and cows consume different feeds. Females have even more rings due to periods of gestation (gestation).

The weight of a pair of horns depends on body weight and breed, ranging from 700 g to 2.5 kg. But horns up to a kilogram are more common. They are used in the haberdashery industry as they are easy to process. They are also used to make high quality animal bone meal, as they are made up of the strongest protein available.

If the owner decided to remove the horns, then such an operation is recommended when they begin to grow. This is due to the structure of the aggressive processes. If they are injured or cut off, a lot of blood can be released.


In the opening of the orbit of the skull is the eyeball. It has the same structural elements as the visual organs of other animals. However, the cow sees its surroundings differently from a predator or a person. Cattle distinguishes saturated colors, sees worse during the day, and better at night (in comparison with humans).

Teeth and tongue

A cow's teeth are composed of incisors and molars. Their number depends on the age and conditions of detention. In meat breeds, teeth complete faster than in dairy breeds.

AgeNumber and type of teeth
Newborn4-6 milk incisors
Week 18 milk incisors
2 years12 molars and 8 milk incisors
5 years24 root and 8 permanent incisors

The upper jaw is wider than the lower one, and chewing occurs alternately with the left and the right side of the dentition. The cow's tongue is attached to the hyoid bone and mandible by muscles. Its back is rough, has a thickening (pillow), taste buds. The tongue mixes the food in the mouth, making it well wet with saliva.


They serve for the perception of sounds and the orientation of the body in space. The ear consists of:

  • external auditory canal;
  • middle and inner ear.

The outer shell is formed by flexible cartilage. Its skin is covered with short hair on the back side and longer in the groove. The lube glands secrete wax. The shell picks up sound signals like a locator and directs them into the ear structure, towards the eardrum (a tight membrane 0.1 mm thick).

The middle ear consists of the malleus, incus, stapes, and lenticular bone, which transmit sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear fluid. Moreover, they are able to amplify or weaken the sound. The inner ear contains balance receptors.

A cow picks up a much wider range of sounds than a person and most of the animals around him. She hears very low frequencies, and a cat has overtaken her in recognizing high frequencies.

Watch the video: How to Dip Skulls with Spray Paint (August 2022).