noun, Anatomy.
any of the nerves arising from the brainstem and exiting to the periphery of the head through skull openings, including 10 pairs in fish and amphibians and 12 pairs in reptiles, birds, and mammals: in humans, these are the abducens nerve, accessory nerve, auditory nerve, facial nerve, glossopharyngeal nerve, hypoglossal nerve, oculomotor nerve, olfactory nerve, optic nerve, trigeminal nerve, trochlear nerve, and vagus nerve.
any of the 12 paired nerves that have their origin in the brain and reach the periphery through natural openings in the skull

cranial nerve n.
Any of 12 pairs of nerves that emerge from or enter the brain, comprising the olfactory (I), optic (II), oculomotor (III), trochlear (IV), trigeminal (V), abducent (VI), facial (VII), vestibulocochlear (VIII), glossopharyngeal (IX), vagus (X), accessory (XI), and hypoglossal (XII) nerves.
cranial nerve
Any of the 12 pairs of nerves in humans and other mammals that connect the muscles and sensory organs of the head and upper chest directly to the brain through openings in the skull. The cranial nerves include the optic nerve and the auditory nerve.


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  • Cranial root

    cranial root n. Any of the roots of the accessory nerve that arise from the medulla.

  • Cranial suture

    cranial suture n. Any of the sutures between the bones of the skull.

  • Cranial vertebra

    cranial vertebra n. A segment of the skull regarded as homologous with a spinal column segment.

  • Craniate

    [krey-nee-it, -eyt] /ˈkreɪ ni ɪt, -ˌeɪt/ adjective 1. having a or skull. noun 2. a craniate animal. /ˈkreɪnɪɪt; -ˌeɪt/ adjective 1. having a skull or cranium adjective, noun 2. another word for vertebrate

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