INTRODUCTION: The petrooccipital fissure (POF) has relevance to skull base approaches, various tumors and craniosynostoses, and some cases of age-related hearing loss. However, the prevalence of fusion and classification of such is rarely found in the extant medical literature.METHODS: One-hundred and 10 dry human skulls (220 sides) were used for this study. The skulls were evaluated for fusion of the POF. Both the endocranial and exocranial aspects of the POF were analyzed. A classification scheme was developed to better describe the location of POF fusion.RESULTS: A fused POF was identified on 36 sides (16.4%) and commonly found bilaterally (11%). Of these, 30 sides (83.3%) were completely fused (type I) and 6 sides (2.7%) were partially fused (types II and III). For the partially fused fissures, the fused part was on all but 2 sides with the most anterior portion of the petrous part of the temporal bone and adjacent clivus (type II). For the 2 sides (both right sides), the fusion was more posteriorly located between the petrous part of the temporal bone and lateral clivus (type III). Fusion of the POF was more often found in specimens with a partially or fully ossified petroclival ligament. Completely fused POF was positively correlated to sides with an intrajugular bony septum.CONCLUSIONS: A POF fusion was relatively common and associated with an ossified petroclival ligament and intrajugular bony septation. Such a prevalence is important for clinicians and skull base surgeons interpreting imaging of the skull base.