Incisive bone

In human anatomy, the incisive bone or (Latin) os incisivum is the portion of the maxilla adjacent to the incisors. It is formed from the fusion of a pair of small cranial bones at the very tip of the jaws of many animals, usually bearing teeth, but not always. They are connected to the maxilla and the nasals. While Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was not the first one to discover the incisive bone in humans, he was the first to prove its presence across mammals. Hence, the incisive bone is also known as Goethe's bone.[1]

Incisive bone
The bony palate and alveolar arch. (Premaxilla is not labeled, but region is visible.)
The premaxilla and its sutures.
Latinos incisivum
Anatomical terms of bone

In other animals the term premaxilla is more often used to refer to the incisive bone. Yet other terms include premaxillary bone, os premaxillare, intermaxillary bone, and os intermaxillare.


  1. "A re-evaluation of the premaxillary bone in humans". Anatomy and Embryology. 207: 417–437. doi:10.1007/s00429-003-0366-x.

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