What is the purpose of the hyoid bone?

General Information:

The hyoid bone (lingual bone) (Latin os hyoideum) is a horseshoe shaped bone situated in the anterior midline of the neck between the chin and the thyroid cartilage.

It is the only bone in the human skeleton not articulated to any other bone. It is held in place by thyroid ligaments. The hyoid bone provides attachment to the muscles of the floor of the mouth and the tongue above, the larynx below, and the epiglottis and pharynx behind.

Its name is derived from the Greek word hyoeides meaning "shaped like the letter upsilon" (υ).


Specifically, as per inquiry:

The human hyoid bone allows for the production of a wide range of sounds that other animals cannot produce. It allows a broader range of tongue, pharyngeal and laryngeal movements by bracing these structures alongside each other in order to produce variation.


Paraphrased from Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyoid_bone