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Fig. 36 B. Section of the External Auditory Meatus at Birth

(After Symington.)

The external auditory meatus is derived from the upper part of the first cleft depression. In the adult the meatus is 1.25 in. long ; at birth it is 0.33 of an inch, and is surrounded by fibro-cartilaginous and fibrous tissue. In the adult the tympanic ring grows outwards in the fibrous tissue, as we have already seen (page IV) to form the tympanic plate and the inner two thirds of the meatal floor. The squamous part of the temporal, which is developed over in its roof, also grows outwards and forms a thick, horizontal plate in the inner two-thirds of the meatal roof (Figs. 36 A and 36 B). Over the roof lies the third temporal convolution.

The meatus is supplied in front by the nerve of the mandibular arch (auriculo-temporal branch). Why the vagus should supply it with a branch (Arnold's nerve) is obscure. The vagus is a visceral nerve and supplies the 3rd and 4th clefts by its superior and inferior laryngeal branches. In fishes a branch of the vagus passes backwards beneath the skin on each side and supplies the sense organs of the lateral line. Many regard the auricular branch of the vagus as a vestige of such a branch.

In the newly-born child the membrana tympani is so obliquely set that its outer surface is almost in contact with the meatal floor. With the development in length of the meatus, it becomes more vertical in position. The meatus may be only partly developed or even absent, the upper part of the 1st cleft becoming completely closed like the lower part. In such a case there is commonly a corresponding absence of development of the middle and internal ear.

Development of the Organ of Hearing: Fig. 35. Cephalic region of an embryo, showing the origin of the Auditory System | Fig. 36 A. Adult External Auditory Meatus | Fig. 36 B. External Auditory Meatus at Birth | Fig. 37. Tubercles round the First Visceral Cleft to form the External Ear | Fig. 38. Part of the Adult Ear formed by each Tubercle | Fig. 39. Auditory Organs 6th week human fetus | Fig. 40. Cavities from the Inner Recess of the First Cleft | Fig. 41. The temporal bone at birth | Fig. 42. Walls of the Antrum | Fig. 43. Outer aspect of the Petro-mastoid at birth | Fig. 44. Membranous Labyrinth | Fig. 45. The Otocyst in an Embryo of five weeks | Fig. 46. Nerve Structures Sense of Hearing | Figures

Hearing Links: Introduction | inner ear | middle ear | outer ear | balance | placode | hearing neural | Science Lecture | Lecture Movie | Medicine Lecture | Stage 22 | hearing abnormalities | hearing test | sensory | Student project

  Categories: Hearing | Outer Ear | Middle Ear | Inner Ear | Balance

Historic Embryology - Hearing 
Historic Embryology: 1880 Platypus cochlea | 1892 Vertebrate Ear | 1902 Development of Hearing | 1906 Membranous Labyrinth | 1910 Auditory Nerve | 1913 Tectorial Membrane | 1918 Human Embryo Otic Capsule | 1918 Cochlea | 1918 Grays Anatomy | 1922 Human Auricle | 1922 Otic Primordia | 1931 Internal Ear Scalae | 1932 Otic Capsule 1 | 1933 Otic Capsule 2 | 1936 Otic Capsule 3 | 1933 Endolymphatic Sac | 1934 Otic Vesicle | 1934 Membranous Labyrinth | 1934 External Ear | 1938 Stapes - 7 to 21 weeks | 1938 Stapes - Term to Adult | 1940 Stapes | 1942 Stapes - Embryo 6.7 to 50 mm | 1943 Stapes - Fetus 75 to 150 mm | 1946 Aquaductus cochleae and periotic (perilymphatic) duct | 1946 aquaeductus cochleae | 1948 Fissula ante fenestram | 1948 Stapes - Fetus 160 mm to term | 1959 Auditory Ossicles | 1963 Human Otocyst | Historic Disclaimer

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Pages where the terms "Historic" (textbooks, papers, people, recommendations) appear on this site, and sections within pages where this disclaimer appears, indicate that the content and scientific understanding are specific to the time of publication. This means that while some scientific descriptions are still accurate, the terminology and interpretation of the developmental mechanisms reflect the understanding at the time of original publication and those of the preceding periods, these terms, interpretations and recommendations may not reflect our current scientific understanding.     (More? Embryology History | Historic Embryology Papers)

Human Embryology and Morphology (1902): Development or the Face | The Nasal Cavities and Olfactory Structures | Development of the Pharynx and Neck | Development of the Organ of Hearing | Development and Morphology of the Teeth | The Skin and its Appendages | The Development of the Ovum of the Foetus from the Ovum of the Mother | The Manner in which a Connection is Established between the Foetus and Uterus | The Uro-genital System | Formation of the Pubo-femoral Region, Pelvic Floor and Fascia | The Spinal Column and Back | The Segmentation of the Body | The Cranium | Development of the Structures concerned in the Sense of Sight | The Brain and Spinal Cord | Development of the Circulatory System | The Respiratory System | The Organs of Digestion | The Body Wall, Ribs, and Sternum | The Limbs | Figures | Embryology History


Keith A. Human Embryology and Morphology. (1902) London: Edward Arnold.

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 20) Embryology Keith1902 fig036b.jpg. Retrieved from

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