Full Bones of the Head and Neck (Posterior View) Description
[Continued from above] . . . The skull rests on the first vertebra, which is called the atlas. At birth, the skull is large in comparison to the rest of the body, and a baby's skull is compressible. The soft spots in a baby's head harden and grow together until the bones meet and mesh like a jigsaw puzzle.
Another important bone in the skeletal system of the head and neck is the hyoid bone. It's closely associated with the skull but isn't a part of it. It anchors muscles, especially those of the tongue. The auditory ossicles are also bones in the head. They form a bridge connecting the eardrum to the inner ear and function to transmit vibrations between these parts.
The first vertebra (atlas) supports and balances the head. The seven cervical vertebrae comprise the bony axis of the neck. Without these important bones in the head and neck, the brain and other significant nerves and muscles would not be protected, nor would the head be able to stay upright.