The term glenoid fossa can refer to a smooth indentation on either the scapula or the temporal bone.
On the scapula, the glenoid fossa is located on the lateral side of the bone. It comprises a smooth, oval, and lightly indented surface where the head of the humerus articulates with the edge of the shoulder. In contrast, the glenoid fossa on the temporal bone is much smaller; it’s located on the inferior and anterior aspect of the bone, present as a little thumb-sized divot for the top of the mandibular condyle.
The glenoid fossa is also one of those perplexing terminological decisions that makes you wonder whether early anatomists ever pulled their heads out of their cadavers and communicated with their living colleagues:
Old-Timey Anatomist 1: “I’ve just found an absolutely fascinating indentation on the lateral scapula! What have you been up to all morning?”
Old-Timey Anatomist 2: “Oh, still examining this temporal bone, and let me tell you, there’s a doozy of a dimple where the mandible articulates…It’s really something!”
Old-Timey Anatomist 1: “How curious that we’re both focusing on areas that remind me of a socket that a pupil or eyeball could fit into! Say, what’s the word for that in ancient Greek?”
Old-Timey Anatomist 2: G?
Old-Timey Anatomist 1: That’s it! Well, we should probably focus on our work and avoid talking to eachother for the next decade or so while we get these features mapped out. Cheers!”