"This deep section of the masseter muscle is clearly distinguishable from the two other layers in terms of its course and function," explains Mezey. The arrangement of the muscle fibers, she says, suggests that this layer is involved in the stabilization of the lower jaw. It also appears to be the only part of the masseter that can pull the lower jaw backwards – that is, toward the ear.
A look at historical anatomy studies and textbooks reveals that the structure of the masseter muscle has already raised questions in the past. In a previous edition of Gray's Anatomy, from the year 1995, the editors also describe the masseter muscle as having three layers, although the cited studies were based on the jaw musculature of other species and partly contradicted one another