Historic Embryology Papers

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These notes are intended to give some historic background to Embryology. Historically, say pre-20th century, Embryology was not easily separated from Medicine, Anatomy and Physiology and other biological sciences.

This page also links to full versions of some of these historic embryology papers.

Historic Disclaimer - information about historic embryology pages 
Mark Hill.jpg
Pages where the terms "Historic Textbook" and "Historic Embryology" appear on this site, and sections within pages where this disclaimer appears, indicate that the content and scientific understanding are specific to the time of publication. This means that while some scientific descriptions are still accurate, the terminology and interpretation of the developmental mechanisms reflect the understanding at the time of original publication and those of the preceding periods, these terms and interpretations may not reflect our current scientific understanding.     (More? Embryology History | Historic Embryology Papers)

History Links: Historic Embryology Papers | Historic Embryology Textbooks | Embryologists | Historic Periods | Historic Terminology | Human Embryo Collections | Carnegie - Contributions to Embryology | 17-18th C Anatomies | Embryology Models | Category:Historic Embryology

Embryologists: Wilhelm Roux | Wilhelm His | Julius Kollmann | Hans Spemann | Charles Minot | Ambrosius Hubrecht | Franz Keibel | Franklin Mall | Florence Sabin | George Streeter | George Corner | James Hill | Jan Florian | Thomas Morgan | Ernest Frazer | Erich Blechschmidt | Arthur Hertig | John Rock | Mary Lyon | Nicole Le Douarin | Robert Winston | Fabiola Müller | Ronan O'Rahilly | Robert Edwards | John Gurdon | Shinya Yamanaka | Embryology History | Category:People
Mark Hill.jpg Students by definition are learning about a topic, so it would seem contrary to the function of an educational site to include information that may be either incorrect or inaccurate. On the other hand, I think it is also important to understand how we achieved our current understanding of embryology and the researchers, discoverers and educators who have made important contributions.

I therefore offer the following student study suggestions: Beginner | Intermediate | Advanced

Beginner students

You are just starting your studies and trying to understand basic embryology and development concepts.

Should probably avoid any content on the site labeled "Historic". The content may confuse or mislead your understanding of basic concepts in embryology and development. Begin with the notes pages linked from the image on the Main Page, or from the Site Map (excluding the history section of site).

Also be careful when viewing images and descriptions that appear as "additional images" or when using the "category" links at the bottom of pages.

Intermediate students

You have a general understanding of embryology and development concepts.

This means you have attended some lectures and practical classes, worked through some of the site notes pages, or studied an embryology textbook. I would still suggest caution when approaching historic material, be sure that you understand the current embryology theories. General observations of how long development takes and the appearance of the human and animal models embryos at different times will not have changed!

Historic images are generally more accurate than some of the accompanying notes pages where the images appear. Some of the labeled structures may have historic names that have been updated or changed in current descriptions, if in doubt use the Glossary. You may also note how many of the textbook images have been based upon some of these historic drawing.

Advanced students

You have a good understanding of embryology and development concepts.

This means that you not only understand, but can also explain clearly to others key developmental concepts. This also implies you understand the differences between recent findings, current controversies and research directions. Now is the time to confidently look back through the historic materials.

These historic materials will provide a context of how we arrived at our current understanding. Importantly, note the date on the page and consider what scientific techniques were available at that time and concurrent discoveries in biology and science.

How will I know that I am an advanced student? You should be able to identify concepts that remain and are applied today as well as those which have been updated or proved to be incorrect. Please also feel free to contact me with mistakes you have identified on this educational site.

Historic Paper Links: 13-14 Somites | 22 Somites | 23 Somites | 25 Somites | 27 Somites | Mall Human Embryo Collection | Embryology History | Carnegie stage 11 | Carnegie stage 12 | Journal of Anatomy | Embryonic Development | Category:Historic Embryology

Embryology History: 1700-1799 | 1800-1899 | 1900-1909 | 1910-1919 | 1920-1929 | 1930-1939 | 1940-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | Historic Papers | Embryologists


Links: Category:1800's









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Links: Category:1910's












Links: Category:1920's












Links: Category:1930's












Links: Category:1940's








  1. Down JLH. Observations on an ethnic classification of idiots. (1866) London Hospital Reports, 3:259-262.


H Alexandre A history of mammalian embryological research. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 2001, 45(3);457-67 PubMed 11417885

A C Spradling The Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Embryology. Mol. Med.: 1997, 3(7);417-9 PubMed 9260153

V Hamburger Introduction: Johannes Holtfreter, pioneer in experimental embryology. Dev. Dyn.: 1996, 205(3);214-6 PubMed 8850558

H Steinbeisser The impact of Spemann's concepts on molecular embryology. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 1996, 40(1);63-8 PubMed 8735912

A Noe Serial sections and human embryology: a new research initiative. Comput Med Imaging Graph: 1996, 20(6);415-22 PubMed 9007209

S F Gilbert Bearing crosses: a historiography of genetics and embryology. Am. J. Med. Genet.: 1998, 76(2);168-82 PubMed 9511981

F Leperchey, J P Barbet [The origins of embryology. Epistemologic and cultural viewpoints]. [Les origines de l'embryologie. Aperçus épistémologiques et culturels.] Morphologie: 1998, 82(258);19-28 PubMed 9949997

J Sapp Jean Brachet, l'hérédité générale and the origins of molecular embryology. Hist Philos Life Sci: 1997, 19(1);69-87 PubMed 9284643

E Diczfalusy, P G Crosignani Introduction: from reproductive endocrinology to reproductive health. The short history of a new departure by ESHRE. European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. Hum. Reprod.: 1996, 11(8);1776-7 PubMed 8921131

H Tiedemann The long road to chemical and molecular embryology. What amphibians can teach us on differentiation. An interview with Professor Heinz Tiedemann. Interview by Horst Grunz. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 1996, 40(1);113-22 PubMed 8735920

G Czihak Sea urchin embryology in the sixties. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 1996, 40(1);97-101 PubMed 8735918

P E Fässler Hans Spemann (1869-1941) and the Freiburg School of Embryology. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 1996, 40(1);49-57 PubMed 8735910

J C Beetschen Louis Sébastien Tredern de Lézérec (1780-18?), a forgotten pioneer of chick embryology. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 1995, 39(2);299-308 PubMed 7669542

K G Jeziorski Evolutionism and embryology in the Warsaw physicians' milieu in the years 1859-1939. Clio Med: 1995, 33;213-21 PubMed 9061232

O Nakamura A view of amphibian embryology research in Japan through the scientific biography of Professor Osamu Nakamura. Interview by Makoto Asashima. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 1994, 38(2);155-65 PubMed 7981025

T S Okada Experimental embryology in Japan, 1930-1960. A historical background of developmental biology in Japan. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 1994, 38(2);135-54 PubMed 7981024

G E Allen Inducers and 'organizers': Hans Spemann and experimental embryology. Hist Philos Life Sci: 1993, 15(2);229-36 PubMed 8153264

F Kohl [Karl Ernst von Baer: 1792-1876. On the 200th birthday of the "father of embryology"]. [Karl Ernst von Baer: 1792-1876. Zum 200. Geburtstag des "Vaters der Embryologie".] Dtsch. Med. Wochenschr.: 1992, 117(51-52);1976-9 PubMed 1478173

H Alexandre A pioneer of experimental mammalian embryology: Jacques Mulnard. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 1992, 36(1);25-7 PubMed 1627471

J G Mulnard The Brussels School of Embryology. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 1992, 36(1);17-24 PubMed 1627468

H Schröder Classics revisited: Joseph Needham: 'Chemical Embryology'--Cambridge 1931. Placenta: 1992, 13(1);91-4 PubMed 1502140

J L Fischer Laurent Chabry and the beginnings of experimental embryology in France. Dev. Biol. (NY): 1991, 7;31-41 PubMed 1804216

R M Burian, J Gayon, D T Zallen Boris Ephrussi and the synthesis of genetics and embryology. Dev. Biol. (NY): 1991, 7;207-27 PubMed 1804214

P G Abir-Am The philosophical background of Joseph Needham's work in chemical embryology. Dev. Biol. (NY): 1991, 7;159-80 PubMed 1804212

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. 2017 Embryology Historic Embryology Papers. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Historic_Embryology_Papers

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© Dr Mark Hill 2017, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G