Subarcuate fossa

In the temporal bone at the sides of the skull, above and between the aquæductus vestibuli is an irregular depression which lodges a process of the dura mater and transmits a small vein and the subarcuate artery[1] a branch of the meatal segment of anterior inferior cerebellar artery, which is an end artery that supplies blood to the inner ear; in the infant this depression is represented by a large fossa, the subarcuate fossa, which extends backward as a blind tunnel under the superior semicircular canal.

Subarcuate fossa
Left temporal bone. Inner surface. (Subarcuate fossa not labeled, but aquaeductus vestibuli labeled at lower right.)
Base of the skull. Upper surface. (Subarcuate fossa not labeled, but temporal bone is identified in pink, and "Eminentia arcuata" (i.e. arcuate eminence, corresponding to the superior semicircular canal) is labeled.)
LatinFossa subarcuata ossis temporalis
Anatomical terms of bone

It is extensive in most primates (except for great apes) and nearly all mammals. In these animals, the subarcuate fossa houses a part of the cerebellum, the petrosal lobe.[2][3]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 143 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. Mom T, Chazal J, Gabrillargues J, Gilain L, Avan P (2005). "Cochlear blood supply: an update on anatomy and function" (PDF). Fr ORL. 88: 81–8.
  2. Gannon PJ, Eden AR, Laitman JT (Oct 1988). "The subarcuate fossa and cerebellum of extant primates: comparative study of a skull-brain interface". Am J Phys Anthropol. 77 (2): 143–64. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330770202. PMID 3207165.
  3. Jeffery N, Ryan TM, Spoor F (Aug 2008). "The primate subarcuate fossa and its relationship to the semicircular canals part II: adult interspecific variation". J Hum Evol. 55 (2): 326–39. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.02.010. PMID 18395770.

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