25 Days of Skeletal Facts: Day 19 – The Ear Ossicles

I have to say that probably the most fun fact about the ear ossicles is that they exist. The ear ossicles consists of three tiny bones within your middle ear, called the malleus, incus, and stapes. Their purpose is to transmit mechanical vibration from your outer ear into your inner ear. Then, once those vibrations reach the cochlea in the inner ear, nerves impulses transmit the information to your brain which is interpreted as sound.

Ear ossicles in situ. Source: Socratic.org

As you may image, ear ossicles are very difficult bones to find in the archaeological record, and usually they elude capture. If discovered, however, they can prove highly useful in the fact that they develop in utero (finishing development around age 2) and never remodel, so researchers can use the isotopes of these bones to gain useful information about maternal and infant diet and health during that developmental period (Leskovar et al. 2019).

That’s all for the smallest bones in your body. Tomorrow we will continue with a discussion of the teeth.


Auditory ossicles. Osika & Salvador. KenHub Anatomy. Last reviewed October 2020

The Role of Auditory Ossicles in Hearing. Berke. VeryWell Health. Last updated February 2020

Auditory ossicles: a potential biomarker for maternal and infant health in utero. Leskovar et al. Annals of Human Biology. 2019

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