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Hyoid bone

Bone: Hyoid bone
Hyoid bone. Anterior surface. Enlarged.
Anterolateral view of head and neck.
Latin os hyoideum
Gray's subject #45 177
Precursor 2nd and 3rd branchial arch[1]
MeSH Hyoid+Bone

The hyoid bone (Lingual Bone) is a bone in the human neck, and is the only bone in the skeleton not articulated to any other bone. It is supported by the muscles of the neck and in turn supports the root of the tongue.

The hyoid bone is shaped like a horseshoe, and is suspended from the tips of the styloid processes of the temporal bones by the stylohyoid ligaments.



It consists of five segments:

  • body of hyoid bone
  • greater cornu (2)
  • lesser cornu (2)


The hyoid is ossified from six centers: two for the body, and one for each cornu. Ossification commences in the greater cornua toward the end of fetal life, in the body shortly afterward, and in the lesser cornua during the first or second year after birth.

Muscle attachments

The following muscles attach to the hyoid:[2]

  • superior
    • Middle pharyngeal constrictor muscle
    • Hyoglossus muscle
    • Digastric muscle
    • Stylohyoid muscle
    • Geniohyoid muscle
    • Mylohyoid muscle
    • Genioglossus
  • inferior
    • Thyrohyoid muscle
    • Omohyoid muscle
    • Sternohyoid muscle


The hyoid bone is involved in the production of human speech. It allows a wider range of tongue and laryngeal movements by bracing these structures against each other. It is not present in any of our closest living relatives, but it did exist in virtually identical form in Neanderthal man. That suggests, along with other anthropological clues of communication, that the Neanderthal employed some form of spoken language.


Due to its position, the hyoid bone is not usually easy to fracture in most situations. Professional wrestler Lance Storm suffered such an injury in a match when Christian Cage struck his throat with a misplaced lariat (forearm strike)[1].

In cases of suspicious death, a fractured hyoid is a strong sign of strangulation.


Its name is derived from the Greek word hyoeides meaning "shaped like the letter upsilon" (υ).

Additional images

See also


  1. ^ Embryology at UNC hednk-023
  2. ^ Mnemonic at 352

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hyoid_bone". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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