The origin of the styloglossus muscle was histologically studied bilaterally in nine human fetuses (18 sides). In all cases, the muscle originated in Reichert's cartilage, which gives rise to the temporal styloid process. We identified three types of variation: type A, an accessory muscle fascicle originating from the mandibular angle, found in 7 cases (12 sides); type B, where the styloglossus muscle was attached to the mandibular angle by fibrous tracts, found in three cases (4 sides); and type C, where an accessory muscle fascicle arose from the fibrous tract connecting Reichert's cartilage to the mandibular angle; found in one case. In all cases (2 sides), the styloglossus muscle was innervated by the hypoglossal nerve. Relationships between the styloglossus muscle and vasculonervous elements of the prestyloid and retrostyloid spaces were analysed.