The temporal bones are at the sides and base of the skull. They protect the structures of the inner ear.
The lower seven cranial nerves move along the inside of the temporal bones. The main blood vessels to and from the brain also move along the inside of the temporal bone.
The temporal bones are not the same in all mammals. The inner ear is usually not protected in marsupials, and in other placentals it is protected by a structure called the auditory bulla.