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File:Proportions of the Head.jpg

The human head.


A cheetah's head.


The head in a human and an ant.

In anatomy, the head of an animal is the rostral part (from anatomical position) that usually comprises the brain, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth (all of which aid in various sensory functions, such as sight, hearing, smell, and taste). Some very simple animals may not have a head, but many bilaterally symmetric forms do.

Anatomy generally[]

Bilateral symmetry[]

The very simplest animals do not have a head, but many bilaterally symmetric forms do. Vertebrates in particular have distinctive heads, which is associated with the development of the neural crest in the developing vertebrate embryo.[1] The contents of the vertebrate head are protected by an enclosure of bone called the skull, which is attached to the spine. The head is the most complex anatomical construct in the anatomy of vertebrates.[2]

The head is of singular importance as it contains the brain, the nerve center in animals.

Cultural importance[]

For humans, the head and particularly the face are the main distinguishing feature between different people, due to their easily discernible features such as hair and eye color, nose, eye and mouth shapes, wrinkles, etc.


In many cultures, covering the head is seen as a sign of respect. Often, some or all of the head must be covered and veiled when entering holy places, or places of prayer. For many centuries, women in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia have covered their hair as a sign of modesty. This trend has changed drastically in Europe in the 20th Century, although is still observed in other parts of the world. In addition, a number of religious paths require men to wear specific head clothing- such as the Jewish yarmulke, or the sikh turban; or Muslim women, who cover their hair ears and neck with a scarf.

Different headpieces can also signify status, origin, religious/spiritual beliefs, social grouping, occupation, and fashion choices.



Static adult human physical characteristics of the head.

See also[]



  • Campbell, Bernard Grant. Human Evolution: An Introduction to Man's Adaptations (4th edition), ISBN 0-202-02042-8

See also[]

External links[]


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