Why do babies have a soft spot in their skulls?

The human skull is an amazing piece of engineering. We evolved to have these incredibly impressive skulls that secure our brains without looking too large, although we all have that one friend with a larger than life head. Yet what is truly fascinating about the skull is how many bones there are in it. Another key question is why a baby has a soft spot but adults don’t. What occurs in the skull over time that causes this strange change to occur? Read on to find out.

Try and count the bones in your skull. You may count one for the top, maybe one for the jaw (that does seem to move separately), perhaps one more around the face? Three? More? If you guessed twenty-two bones then you are correct! Astonishing.

There are actually eight bones around the brain alone and fourteen around the face and jaw. When we are young these bones are all separate and tied together by connective tissue known as sutures. If you have ever heard of the soft spot on a baby’s head this is exactly what it is, the gap between the bones of a baby’s head. While you may be tempted to poke the soft spot, that is a terrible idea, as it is the unprotected element of a baby’s head!

As the human body grows the bones start to fuse together. This is why when you see the skulls of grown adults it looks like one complete piece but it is not at all. In fact, as time goes on and skulls start to decompose these pieces often separate again.

There you have it, the perfect answer to a likely quiz question is that there are 22 bones in the human head and the perfect answer when your weird friend tries to touch your baby’s soft spot is no, definitely no.