The occipital bone is a modified vertebra. Looking at it from the outside , one sees the vertebral blue print splayed out. Inside, the cerebellum sits in the posterior cranial fossa which is mostly  occipital bone based. The foramen magnum is the spinal canal of this bone. At this juncture the spinal cord evolves into the medulla.


The occipital abuts the temporal bones at the sides and  the sphenoid bone at the narrow front. It is actually itself made up of four smaller bones which unite into a single occipital bone at about six years of age.

Two joints, the occipital condyles,  one to either side of the foramen magnum, sit on the C1 superior joints.

Think of the occiput as a bucket seat in which the hind brain sits. The temporal bone is the arm rest on which the temporal lobe sits.

The slanted flat part forward the foramen magnus is called the clivus. The clivus continues past the occipital part into the sphenoid.