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The morphology of the suboccipital region in snakes, and the anatomical and functional diversity of the myodural bridge.
Grondel B, Cramberg M, Greer S, Young BA. The morphology of the suboccipital region in snakes, and the anatomical and functional diversity of the myodural bridge. Journal of morphology. 2022 Jan 1; 283(1):123-133.
The myodural bridge, that is, skeletal muscle fibers attaching to the cervical dura mater, has been described from a variety of mammals and other amniotes. To test an earlier assumption about the presence of the myodural bridge in snakes, a comparative study was designed using a group of Colubrine snakes. Serial histological sections revealed no evidence of the myodural bridge in any of the snakes examined. Further analyses, including histology, computed tomography (CT), and micro-CT imaging of other distantly related snakes, also turned up no evidence of a myodural bridge. The close apposition of adjacent neural arches in snakes may preclude muscle tendons from passing through the intervertebral joint to reach the spinal dura. It is hypothesized that the myodural bridge functions in the clearance of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by creating episodic CSF pressure pulsations, and that snakes are capable of creating equivalent CSF pressure pulsations through vertebral displacement.