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How Much Weight Does It Take To Crush A Human Skull

How Much Weight Does It Take To Crush A Human Skull? The Limit

How much weight does it take to crush a human skull? While it may seem grim, the answer to this question is very important in fields such as forensic science and biomechanics.

But there is another side to it. Why did the strength and limits of the human skull gain popularity all of a sudden? Well, the popular Game of Thrones series captivated audiences with its intense and often brutal scenes. 

One particular scene between the characters the Mountain and Oberyn Martell left many fans questioning the limits of human strength. 

In this scene, the Mountain places his thumbs in Martell’s eye-sockets and squeezes until the brains blow out the top of his head. This depiction has sparked curiosity among viewers, leading to the question,

How Much Weight Does It Take To Crush A Human Skull?

It is nearly impossible to crush a human skull by hand. The human skull is tougher and stronger than materials like concrete and steel of the same mass. Even attempting to crush a skull would require a minimum force of approximately 250kg.

However, even the strongest human in the world would struggle to generate such a force. In fact, the maximum lateral force that a human can apply is around 150kg, which is only about half of what would be necessary to crush a skull.

Experimental Studies Of Skull Fracture In The Temporal Region

In a series of experimental studies on skull fractures in the temporal region, fifteen dry skulls were subjected to static compression in the bitemporal direction. The studies aimed to determine the forces required to cause fractures to the skull. 

The results obtained from the experiments were as follows: the forces necessary to produce the first fracture, specifically the separation of the parietotemporal suture, ranged from 135 kg to 385 kg, with an average force of 356.3 kilograms. 

Furthermore, the inner diameters of the skulls decreased by 0.65 mm to 1.85 mm from pre-examination to the first fracture and by 1.56 mm to 4.5 mm from pre-examination to the second fracture.

What Is The Skull Made Of?

The skull, also called the cranium, is a complex network of 22 bones that come together to form the structure of the head. 

Contrary to popular belief, the skull is not a single bone but rather a collection of various bones that make up the top and back of the head, as well as the facial framework.

The skull takes shape from the early stages of embryonic development and continues to evolve throughout gestation and infancy. 

The skull bones’ composition primarily comprises dense, strong connective tissues such as collagen and elastin. 

These proteins provide flexibility and resilience to the structure, protecting the delicate brain and facial features. 

Additionally, the bones of the skull contain a high mineral content, primarily calcium and phosphorus, contributing to their hardness and strength. 

The Main Purposes Of The Skull

The primary function of the skull is to provide protection and support for the brain, one of the body’s most vital organs. 

The skull is a sturdy and secure casing that protects the brain from external forces and potential injuries

It acts as a protective barrier, safeguarding the brain’s delicate tissues and neural networks from physical trauma, impact, and other potential hazards.

In addition, the skull also plays a role in maintaining the structural integrity of the head and face. It gives shape and form to the human face, providing the distinct features that make each one of us unique. 

Furthermore, the skull helps maintain the overall stability and balance of the body. It supports the attachment of muscles that control facial expressions, head movements, and chewing functions. 

The skull’s structure also accommodates openings and passageways for blood vessels, nerves, and airways connecting to different body parts.

Bones Of The Human Skull

The human skull is a complex structure composed of several bones that protect the brain and support various sensory organs. Each bone plays a crucial role in maintaining the structure and functionality of the skull. Here are the eight bones in the human skull

  • Fontal Bone – This bone forms the forehead and protects the brain’s frontal lobes. It also houses the frontal sinuses, which help lighten the skull’s weight.
  1. Parietal Bone – There are two parietal bones on each side of the skull. These bones form the roof and sides of the skull and protect the brain’s parietal lobes.
  • Temporal Bone – Like the parietal bones, two temporal bones are on each side of the skull. 

The temporal bones house the middle and inner ear structures, including the ear canal and auditory ossicles. They also provide attachment sites for various muscles involved in jaw movement.

  • Occipital Bone – The occipital bone is at the back of the skull. This bone forms the base of the skull and protects the cerebellum and brainstem. 

It also contains a large opening called the foramen magnum, which connects the spine to the brain.

  • Sphenoid Bone – The sphenoid bone is in the middle of the skull and helps form the cranium base. 

It houses crucial structures such as the pituitary gland and optic nerves. Additionally, it provides attachment sites for various muscles involved in chewing and swallowing.

  • Ethmoid Bone – This irregular delicate bone is between the eyes and forms part of the nasal cavity. It also helps to separate the nasal cavity from the brain.

Keeping Your Skull Healthy

It is important to wear appropriate protective headgear, especially when participating in sports activities or engaging in hazardous work. 

This precautionary measure will prevent any potential injuries to the skull, which could ultimately result in severe brain damage.

You should also strictly adhere to traffic rules and practice safe driving techniques to minimize the risk of accidents. Doing so can protect your skull from potential injuries on the road. 

Head injuries are common in vehicular accidents, and wearing a seatbelt is essential for reducing the chances of skull injuries.

Cranial Bone Conditions

Cranial bone conditions refer to abnormalities and disorders affecting the skull bones. These conditions can significantly affect a person’s appearance and overall health. The following are the common cranial bone conditions.

1. Fracture – It refers to any type of break in the skull bone. There are different types of fractures, depressed, linear, basilar, and diastasis. Depressed fractures occur when a portion of the skull bone is pushed inward, causing depression or indentation. 

Linear fractures are straight breaks in the bone, while basilar fractures involve the base of the skull. Diastasis fractures occur when the bones in the skull separate from each other.

2. Craniosynostosis – The condition involves the premature closing of skull sutures. When these sutures close too early, it can lead to an unusually shaped skull and may sometimes affect facial features.

3. Cleidocranial dysplasia is a genetic condition caused by mutations in a specific gene. It affects the development of teeth and bones, plus the cranial bones. 

People with this condition often have delayed or abnormal tooth eruption and a characteristic appearance of a prominent forehead and wide-set eyes.

4. Osteomas – Osteomas refers to the benign overgrowth of bone on the skull and can have various effects on an individual’s health, including hearing and vision problems.

5. Fibrous dysplasia is the abnormal development of scarlike tissue instead of normal bone tissue, which arises due to a mutation in bone-producing cells. 

And this leads to fibrous or cystic lesions in the affected bones. Fibrous dysplasia can occur in various bones throughout the body, including the skull.

Sutures Of The Skull

What are sutures? The skull sutures are fibrous joints between the bones of the skull that allow for growth and expansion during infancy and childhood. Sutures completely fuse at around the age of 20 years. The skull contains the following sutures;

  • Metopic suture – The metopic suture runs from the top of the head down the middle of the forehead towards the nose. It is where the two frontal bone plates meet, forming a connection between them.
  • Coronal suture – It extends from ear to ear. Each frontal bone plate meets with a parietal bone plate, creating a strong joint.
  • The sagittal suture runs from the front of the head to the back, down the middle of the top of the head. It is where the two parietal bone plates meet.
  • Lambdoid suture – The lambdoid suture extends across the back of the head, where each parietal bone plate meets with the occipital bone plate, ensuring a secure connection between them.


Now you know how much weight it takes to crush a human skull. The human skull is a complex structure that varies in thickness and strength across individuals. 

Age, bone density, and overall health may influence the skull’s resistance to external forces. 

Furthermore, the distribution of weight and the angle of force application can greatly determine the weight needed to crush a human skull.

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