The Works of Francis Balfour 3-10

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Foster M. and Sedgwick A. The Works of Francis Balfour Vol. III. A Treatise on Comparative Embryology 2 (1885) MacMillan and Co., London.

Cephalochorda | Urochorda | Elasmobranchii | Teleostei | Cyclostomata | Ganoidei | Amphibia | Aves | Reptilia | Mammalia | Comparison of the Formation of Germinal Layers and Early Stages in Vertebrate Development | Ancestral form of the Chordata | General Conclusions | Epidermis and Derivatives | The Nervous System | Organs of Vision | Auditory, Olfactory, and Lateral Line Sense Organs | Notochord, Vertebral Column, Ribs, and Sternum | The Skull | Pectoral and Pelvic Girdles and Limb Skeleton | Body Cavity, Vascular System and Glands | The Muscular System | Excretory Organs | Generative Organs and Genital Ducts | The Alimentary Canal and Appendages in Chordata
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This historic 1885 book edited by Foster and Sedgwick is the third of Francis Balfour's collected works published in four editions. Francis (Frank) Maitland Balfour, known as F. M. Balfour, (November 10, 1851 - July 19, 1882) was a British biologist who co-authored embryology textbooks.

Foster M. and Sedgwick A. The Works of Francis Balfour Vol. I. Separate Memoirs (1885) MacMillan and Co., London.

Foster M. and Sedgwick A. The Works of Francis Balfour Vol. II. A Treatise on Comparative Embryology 1. (1885) MacMillan and Co., London.

Foster M. and Sedgwick A. The Works of Francis Balfour Vol. III. A Treatise on Comparative Embryology 2 (1885) MacMillan and Co., London.

Foster M. and Sedgwick A. The Works of Francis Balfour Vol. IV. Plates (1885) MacMillan and Co., London.
Modern Notes:

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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)

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Vol. III. A Treatise on Comparative Embryology 2 (1885)

Chapter X. Mammalia

The classical researches of Bischoff on the embryology of several mammalian types, as well as those of other observers, have made us acquainted with the general form of the embryos of the Placentalia, and have shewn that, except in the earliest stages of development, there is a close agreement between them. More recently Hensen, Schafer, Kolliker, Van Beneden and Lieberkiihn have shed a large amount of light on the obscurer points of the earliest developmental periods, especially in the rabbit. For the early stages the rabbit necessarily serves as type; but there are grounds for thinking that not inconsiderable variations are likely to be met with in other species, and it is not at present easy to assign to some of the developmental features their true value. We have no knowledge of the early development of the Ornithodelphia or Marsupialia.

The ovum on leaving the ovary is received by the fimbriated extremity of the Fallopian tube, down which it slowly travels. It is still invested by the zona radiata, and in the rabbit an albuminous envelope is formed around it in its passage downwards. Impregnation takes place in the upper part of the Fallopian tube, and is shortly followed by the segmentation, which is remarkable amongst the Amniota for being complete.

Although this process (the details of which have been made known by the brilliant researches of Ed. van Beneden) has already been shortly dealt with as it occurs in the rabbit (Vol. II. p. 98) it will be convenient to describe it again with somewhat greater detail.

The ovum first divides into two nearly equal spheres, of which one is slightly larger and more transparent than the other. The larger sphere and its products will be spoken of as the epiblastic spheres, and the smaller one and its products as the hypoblastic spheres, in accordance with their different destinations.

Both the spheres are soon divided into two, and each of the four so formed into two again; and thus a stage with eight spheres ensues. At the moment of their first separation these spheres are spherical, and arranged in two layers, one of them formed of the four epiblastic spheres, and the other of the four hypoblastic. This position is not long retained, but one of the hypoblastic spheres passes to the centre; and the whole ovum again takes a spherical form.

In the next phase of segmentation each of the four epiblastic spheres divides into two, and the ovum thus becomes constituted of twelve spheres, eight epiblastic and four hypoblastic. The epiblastic spheres have now become markedly smaller than the hypoblastic.

The four hypoblastic spheres next divide, giving rise, together with the eight epiblastic spheres, to sixteen spheres in all; which are nearly uniform in size. Of the eight hypoblastic spheres four soon pass to the centre, while the eight superficial epiblastic spheres form a kind of cup partially enclosing the hypoblastic spheres. The epiblastic spheres now divide in their turn, giving rise to sixteen spheres which largely enclose the hypoblastic spheres. The segmentation of both epiblastic and hypoblastic spheres continues, and in the course of it the epiblastic spheres spread further and further over the hypoblastic, so that at the close of segmentation the hypoblastic spheres constitute a central solid mass almost entirely surrounded by the epiblastic spheres. In a small circular area however the hypoblastic spheres remain for some time exposed at the surface (fig. 1 34 A).

The whole process of segmentation is completed in the rabbit about seventy hours after impregnation. At its close the epiblast cells, as they may now be called, are clear, and have an irregularly cubical form ; while the hypoblast cells are polygonal and granular, and somewhat larger than the epiblast cells.

The opening in the epiblastic layer where the hypoblast cells are exposed on the surface may for convenience be called with Van Beneden the blastoporc, though it is highly improbable that it in any way corresponds with the blastopore of other vertebrate ova 1 .


ep. epiblast ; hy. primary hypoblast ; bp. Van Beneden's blastopore. The shading of the epiblast and hypoblast is diagrammatic.

After its segmentation the ovum passes into the uterus. The epiblast cells soon grow over the blastopore and thus form a complete superficial layer. A series of changes next take place which result in the formation of what has been called the blastodermic vescicle. To Ed. van Beneden we owe the fullest account of these changes ; to Hensen and Kolliker however we are also indebted for valuable observations, especially on the later stages in the development of this vesicle.

The succeeding changes commence with the appearance of a narrow cavity between the epiblast and hypoblast, which extends so as completely to separate these two layers except in the region adjoining the original site of the blastopore (fig. 134 B) a . The cavity so formed rapidly enlarges, and with it the ovum also ; which soon takes the form of a thin-walled vesicle with a large central cavity. This vesicle is the blastodermic vesicle. The greater part of its walls are formed of a single row of flattened epiblast cells; while the hypoblast cells form a small lens -shaped mass attached to the inner side of the epiblast cells (fig- 135).

1 It is stated by Bischoff that shortly after impregnation, and before the commencement of the segmentation, the ova of the rabbit and guinea-pig are covered with cilia and exhibit the phenomenon of rotation. This has not been noticed by other observers.

Van Beneden regards it as probable that the blastopore is situated somewhat excentrically in relation to the area of attachment of the hypoblastic mass to the epiblast.

In the Vespertilionidee Van Beneden and Julin have shewn that the ovum undergoes at the close of segmentation changes of a more or less similar nature to those in the rabbit ; the blastopore would however appear to be wider, and to persist even after the cavity of the blastodermic vesicle has commenced to be developed.


bv. cavity of blastodermic vesicle (yolk-sack) ; ep. epiblast ; hy. primitive hypoblast ; Z/. mucous envelope (zona pellucida).

Although by this stage, which occurs in the rabbit between seventy and ninety hours after impregnation, the blastodermic vesicle has by no means attained its greatest dimensions, it has nevertheless grown from about 0x39 mm. the size of the ovum at the close of segmentation to about 0*28. It is enclosed by a membrane formed from the zona radiata and the mucous layer around it. The blastodermic vesicle continues to enlarge rapidly, and during the process the hypoblastic mass undergoes important changes. It spreads out on the inner side of the epiblast and at the same time loses its lens-like form and becomes flattened. The central part of it remains however thicker, and is constituted of two rows of cells, while the peripheral part, the outer boundary of which is irregular, is formed of an imperfect layer of amoeboid cells which continually spread further and further within the epiblast. The central thickening of the hypoblast forms an opaque circular spot on the blastoderm, which constitutes the commencement of the embryonic area.

The history of the stages immediately following, from about the commencement of the fifth day to the seventh day, when a primitive streak makes its appearance, is imperfectly understood, and has been interpreted very differently by Van Beneden (No. 171) on the one hand and by Kolliker (184), Rauber (187) and Lieberkiihn (186) on the other. I have myself in conjunction with my pupil, Mr Heape, also conducted some investigations on these stages, which have unfortunately not as yet led me to a completely satisfactory reconciliation of the opposing views.

Van Beneden states that about five days after impregnation the hypoblast cells in the embryonic area become divided into two distinct strata, an upper stratum of small cells adjoining the epiblast and a lower stratum of flattened cells which form the true hypoblast. At the edge of the embryonic area the hypoblast is continuous with a peripheral ring of the amoeboid cells of the earlier stage, which now form, except at the edge of the ring, a continuous layer of flattened cells in contact with the epiblast. During the sixth day the flattened epiblast cells are believed by Van Beneden to become columnar. The embryonic area gradually extends itself, and as it does so becomes oval. A central lighter portion next becomes apparent, which gradually spreads, till eventually the darker part of the embryonic area forms a crescent at the posterior part of the now somewhat pyriform embryonic area. The lighter part is formed of columnar epiblast and hypoblast only, while in the darker area a layer of the mesoblast, derived from the intermediate layer of the fifth day, is also found. In this darker area the primitive streak originates early on the seventh day.

Kolliker, following the lines originally laid down by Rauber, has arrived at very different results. He starts from the three-layered condition described by Van Beneden for the fifth day, but does not give any investigations of his own as to the origin of the middle layer. He holds the outer layer to be a provisional layer of protective cells, forming part of the wall of the original vesicle, the middle layer he regards as the true epiblast and the inner layer as the hypoblast.

During the sixth day he finds that the cells of the outer layer gradually cease to form a continuous layer and finally disappear ; while the cells of the middle layer become columnar, and form the columnar epiblast present in the embryonic area at the end of the sixth day. The mesoblast first takes its origin in the region and on the formation of the primitive streak.

The investigations of Heape and myself do not extend to the first formation of the intermediate layer found on the fifth day. We find on the sixth day in germinal vesicles of about 2-2 2'5 millimetres in diameter with embryonic areas of about '8 mm. that the embryonic area (fig. 136) is throughout composed of

(1) A layer of flattened hypoblast cells ;

(2) A somewhat irregular layer of more columnar elements, in some places only a single row deep and in other places two or more rows deep.

(3) Flat elements on the surface, which do not, however, form a continuous layer, and are intimately attached to the columnar cells below.

Our results as to the structure of the blastoderm at this stage closely correspond therefore with those of Kolliker, but on one important point we have arrived at a different conclusion. Kolliker states that he has never found the flattened elements in the act of becoming columnar. We believe that we have in many instances been able to trace them in the act of undergoing this change, and have attempted to shew this in our figure.

Our next oldest embryonic areas were somewhat pyriform measuring about i '19 mm. in length and '85 in breadth. Of these we have several, some from a rabbit in which we also met with younger still nearly circular areas. All of them had a distinctly marked posterior opacity forming a commencing primitive streak, though decidedly less advanced than in the blastoderm represented in fig. 140. In the younger specimens the epiblast in front of the primitive streak was formed of a single row of columnar cells (fig. 138 A), no mesoblast was present and the hypoblast formed a layer of flattened cells. In the region immediately in front of the primitive streak, an irregular layer of mesoblast cells was interposed between the epiblast and hypoblast. In the anterior part of the primitive streak itself (fig. 138 B) there was a layer of mesoblast with a considerable lateral extension, while in the median line there was a distinct mesoblastic proliferation of epiblast cells. In the posterior sections the lateral extension of the mesoblast was less, but the mesoblast cells formed a thicker cord in the axial line.

Owing to the unsatisfactory character of our data the following attempt to fill in the history of the fifth and sixth days must be regarded as tentative 1 . At the commencement of the fifth day the central thickening, of what has been called above the primitive hypoblast, becomes divided into two layers: the lower of these is continuous with the peripheral hypoblast and is formed of flattened cells, while the upper one is formed of small rounded elements. The superficial epiblast again is formed of flattened cells.

During the fifth day remarkable changes take place in the epiblast of the embryonic area. It is probable that its con 1 The attempt made below to frame a consecutive history out of the contradictory data at my disposal is not entirely satisfactory. Should Kolliker's view turn out to be quite correct, the origin of the middle layer of the fifth day, which Kolliker believes to become the permanent epiblast, will have to be worked out again, in order to determine whether it really comes, as it is stated by Van Beneden to do, from the primitive hypoblast.

stituent cells increase in number and become one by one columnar; and that in the process they press against the layer of rounded elements below them, so that the two layers cease to be distinguishable, and the whole embryonic area acquires in section the characters represented in fig. I36 1 . Towards the end of the sixth day the embryonic area becomes oval, but the changes which next take place are not understood. In the front part of the area only two layers of cells are found, (i) an hypoblast, and (2) an epiblast of columnar cells probably derived from the flattened epiblast cells of the earlier stages. In the posterior part of the blastoderm a middle layer is present (Van Beneden) in addition to the two other layers; and this layer probably originates from the middle layer which extended throughout the area at the beginning of the fifth day, and then became fused with the epiblast. The middle layer does not give rise to the whole of the eventual mesoblast, but only to part of it. From its origin it may be called the hypoblastic mesoblast, and it is probably equivalent to the hypoblastic mesoblast already described in the chick (pp. 154 and 155). The stage just described has only been met with by Van Beneden 2 .


The section shews the peculiar character of the upper layer with a certain number of superficial flattened cells ; and represents about half the breadth of the area.

A diagrammatic view of the whole blastodermic vesicle at about the beginning of the seventh day is given in fig. 137. The embryonic area is represented in white. The line ge in B shews the extension of the hypoblast round the inner side of the vesicle. The blastodermic vesicle is therefore formed of three areas, (i) the embryonic area with three layers: this area is placed where the blastopore was originally situated. (2) The ring around the embryonic area where the walls of the vesicle are formed of epiblast and hypoblast. (3) The area beyond this again where the vesicle is formed of epiblast only 1 .

1 The section figured may perhaps hardly appear to justify this view; the examination of a larger number of sections is, however, more favourable to it, but it must be admitted that the interpretation is by no means thoroughly satisfactory.

Kolliker does not believe in the existence of this stage, having never met with it himself. It appears to me, however, more probable that Kolliker has failed to obtain it, than that Van Beneden has been guilty of such an extraordinary blunder as to have described a stage which has no existence.


ag. embryonic area ; ge. boundary of the hypoblast.

The changes which next take place begin with the formation of a primitive streak, homologous with, and in most respects similar to, the primitive streak in Birds. The formation of the streak is preceded by that of a clear spot near the middle of the blastoderm, forming the nodal point of Hensen. This spot subsequently constitutes the front end of the primitive streak.

The history of the primitive streak was first worked out in a satisfactory manner by Hensen (No. 182), from whom however I differ in admitting the existence of a certain part of the mesoblast before its appearance.

Early on the seventh day the embryonic area becomes pyriform, and at its posterior and narrower end a primitive streak makes its appearance, which is due to a proliferation of rounded cells from the epiblast. At the time when this proliferation commences the layer of hypoblastic mesoblast is present, especially just in front of, and at the sides of, the anterior part of the streak; but no mesoblast is found in the anterior part of the embryonic area. These features are shewn in fig. 138 A and B.

1 Schafer describes the blastodermic vesicle of the cat as being throughout in a bilaminar condition before the formation of a definite primitive streak or of the mesoblast.


A. Through the region of the blastoderm in front of the primitive streak; B. through the front part of the primitive streak ; ep. epiblast ; m. mesoblast ; hy. hypoblast ; /;-. primitive streak.

The mesoblast derived from the proliferation of the epiblast soon joins the mesoblast already present; though in many sections it seems possible to trace a separation between the two parts (fig. 139 B) of the mesoblast.


The embryo has nearly the structure represented in fig. 140.

A. is taken through the anterior part of the embryonic area. It represents about half the breadth of the area, and there is no trace of a medullary groove or of the mesoblast.

B. Is taken through the posterior part of the primitive streak.

ep. epiblast; hy. hypoblast.

During the seventh day the primitive streak becomes a more pronounced structure, the mesoblast in its neighbourhood increases in quantity, while an axial groove the primitive groove is formed on its upper surface. The mesoblastic layer in front of the primitive streak becomes thicker, and, in the twolayered region in front, the epiblast becomes several rows deep (fig. 139 A).

In the part of the embryonic area in front of the primitive streak there arise during the eighth day two folds bounding a shallow median groove, which meet in front, but diverge behind, and enclose between them the foremost end of the primitive streak (fig. 141). These folds are the medullary folds and they constitute the first definite traces of the embryo. The medullary plate bounded by them rapidly grows in length, the primitive streak always remaining at its hinder end. While the lateral epiblast is formed of several rows of cells, that of the medullary plate is at first formed of but a



, J J RABBIT. (After Kolliker.)

Single row (fig. 142, mg). The mesoblast, ^ embryonic area ;pr.

which appears to grow forward from the primitive streak. primitive streak, is stated to be at first a continuous sheet between the epiblast and hypoblast (Hensen). The evidence on this point does not however appear to me to be quite conclusive. In any case, as soon as ever the medullary groove is formed, the mesoblast becomes divided, exactly as in Lacerta and Elasmobranchii, into two independent lateral plates, which are not continuous across the middle line (fig. 142, me]. The hypoblast cells are flattened laterally, but become columnar beneath the medullary plate (fig. 142).

In tracing the changes which take place in the relations of the layers, in passing from the region of the embryo to that of the primitive streak, it will be convenient to follow the account given by Schafer for the guinea-pig (No. 190), which on this point is far fuller and more satisfactory than that of other observers. In doing so I shall leave out of consideration the fact (fully dealt with later in this chapter) that the layers in the guinea-pig are inverted. Fig. 143 represents a series of sections through this part in the guinea-pig. The anterior section (D) passes through the medullary groove near its hinder end. The commencement of the primitive streak is marked by a slight prominence on the floor of the medullary groove between the two diverging medullary folds (fig. 143 C, ae). Where this prominence becomes first apparent the epiblast and hypoblast are united together. The mesoblast plates at the two sides remain in the meantime quite free. Slightly further back, but before the primitive groove is reached, the epiblast and hypoblast arc connected together by a cord of cells (fig. 143 B, /), which in the section next following becomes detached from the hypoblast and forms a solid keel projecting from the epiblast. In the following section the hitherto independent mcsoblast plates become united with this keel (fig. 143 A); and in the posterior sections, through the part of the primitive streak with the primitive groove, the epiblast and mesoblast continue to be united in the axial line, but the hypoblast remains distinct. These peculiar relations may shortly be described by saying that in the axial line the hypoblast becomes united with the epiblast at the posterior cud of the embryo; and that the cells which connect the hypoblast and epiblast are posteriorly continuous with the fused epiblast and mesoblast of the


o. place of future area vasculosa ; rf. medullary groove ; fir. primitive streak ; ag. embryonic area.

FIG. 142. TRANSVERSE SECTION THROUGH AN EMBRYO RABBIT OF EIGHT DAYS. ep. epiblast ; me. mesoblast ; hy. hypoblast ; mg. medullary groove.

primitive Streak, the hypo- , epiblast; ///. mesoblast; A. hypoblasl;

blast in the region of the ac- axial q>il>last <>f the primitive streak ; . . , . all. axial hypoblast attached in 15. and C. to

primitive Streak having be- the epiblast at the rudimentary blaslopore ;

/;'. medullary groove; / rudimentary bias topore.



come distinct from other layers.

The peculiar relations just described, which hold also for the rabbit, receive their full explanation by a comparison of the Mammal with the Bird and the Lizard, but before entering into this comparison, it will be well to describe the next stage in the rabbit, which is in many respects very instructive. In this stage the thickened axial portion of the hypoblast in the region of the embryo becomes separated from the lateral part as the notochord. Very shortly after the formation of the notochord, the hypoblast grows in from the two sides, and becomes quite continuous across the middle line. The formation of the notochord takes place from before backwards ; and at the hinder end of the embryo the notochord is continued into the mass of cells which forms the axis of the primitive streak, becoming therefore at this point continuous with the epiblast. The notochord in fact behaves exactly as did the axial hypoblast in the earlier stage.

In comparison with Lacerta (pp. 203 205) it is obvious that the axial hypoblast and the notochord derived from it have exactly the same relations in Mammalia and Lacertilia. In both they are continued at the hind end of the embryo into the epiblast ; and close to where they join it, the mesoblast and epiblast fuse together to form the primitive streak. The difference between the two types consists in the fact that in Reptilia there is formed a passage connecting the neural and alimentary canals, the front wall of which is constituted by the cells which form the above junction between the notochord and epiblast ; and that in Mammalia this passage which is only a rudimentary structure in Reptilia has either been overlooked or else is absent. In any case the axial junction of the epiblast and hypoblast in Mammalia is shewn by the above comparison with Lacertilia to represent the dorsal lip of the true vertebrate blastopore. The presence of this blastopore seems to render it clear that the blastopore discovered by Ed. van Beneden cannot have the meaning he assigned to it in comparing it with the blastopore of the frog.

Kolliker adduces the fact that the notochord is continuous with the axial cells of the primitive streak as an argument against its hypoblastic origin. The above comparison with Lacertilia altogether deprives this argument of any force.

At the stage we have now reached the three layers are definitely established. The epiblast (on the view adopted above) clearly originates from epiblastic segmentation cells. The hypoblast without doubt originates from the hypoblastic segmentation spheres which give rise to the lenticular mass within the epiblast on the appearance of the cavity of the blastodermic vesicle ; while, though the history of the mesoblast is still obscure, part of it appears to originate from the hypoblastic mass, and part is undoubtedly formed from the epiblast of the primitive streak.

While these changes have been taking place the rudiments of a vascular area become formed, and it is very possible that part of the hypoblastic mesoblast passes in between the epiblast and hypoblast. immediately around the embryonic area, to give rise to the area vasculosa. From Hensen's observation it seems at any rate clear that the mesoblast of the vascular area arises independently of the primitive streak: an observation which is borne out by the analogy of Birds.

General growth of the Embryo

We have seen that the blastodermic vesicle becomes divided at an early stage of development into an embryonic area, and a non-embryonic portion. The embryonic area gives rise to the whole of the body of the embryo, while the non-embryonic part forms an appendage, known as the umbilical vesicle, which becomes gradually folded off from the embryo, and has precisely the relations of the yolk-sack of the Sauropsida. It is almost certain that the Placentalia are descended from ancestors, the embryos of which had large yolk-sacks, but that the yolk has become reduced in quantity owing to the nutriment received from the wall of the uterus taking the place of that originally supplied by the yolk. A rudiment of the yolk-sack being retained in the umbilical vesicle, this structure may be called indifferently umbilical vesicle or yolk-sack.

The yolk which fills the yolk-sack in Birds is replaced in Mammals by a coagulable fluid ; while the gradual extension of the hypoblast round the wall of the blastodermic vesicle, which has already been described, is of the same nature as the growth of the hypoblast round the yolk-sack in Birds.

The whole embryonic area would seem to be employed in the formation of the body of the embryo. Its long axis has no very definite relation to that of the blastodermic vesicle. The first external trace of the embryo to appear is the medullary plate, bounded by the medullary folds, and occupying at first the anterior half of the embryonic area (fig. 141). The two medullary folds diverge behind and enclose the front end of the primitive streak. As the embryo elongates, the medullary folds nearly meet behind and so cut off the front portion of the primitive streak, which then appears as a projection in the hind end of the medullary groove. In an embryo rabbit, eight days after impregnation, the medullary groove is about r8o mm. in length. At this stage a division may be clearly seen in the lateral plates of mesoblast into a vertebral zone adjoining the embryo and a more peripheral lateral zone ; and in the vertebral zone indications of two somites, about O'37 mm. from the hinder end of the embryo, become apparent. The foremost of these somites marks the junction, or very nearly so, of the cephalic region and trunk. The small size of the latter as compared with the former is very striking, but is characteristic of Vertebrates generally. The trunk gradually elongates relatively to the head, by the addition behind of fresh somites. The embryo has not yet begun to be folded off from the yolk-sack. In a slightly older embryo of nine days there appears (Hensen, Kolliker) round the embryonic area a delicate clear ring which is narrower in front than behind (fig. 144 A, ap). This ring is regarded by these authors as representing the peripheral part of the area pellucida of Birds, which does not become converted into the body of the embryo. Outside the area pellucida, an area vasculosa has become very well defined. In the embryo itself (fig. 144 A) the disproportion between head and trunk is less marked than before ; the medullary plate dilates anteriorly to form a spatulashaped cephalic enlargement ; and three or four somites are established. In the lateral parts of the mesoblast of the head there may be seen on each side a tube-like structure (Jiz). Each of these is part of the heart, which arises as two independent tubes. The remains of the primitive streak (pr) are still present behind the medullary groove.

In somewhat older embryos (fig. 144 B) with about eight somites, in which the trunk considerably exceeds the head in length, the first distinct traces of the folding-off of the head end of the embryo become apparent, and somewhat later a fold also appears at the hind end. In the formation of the hind end of the embryo the primitive streak gives rise to a tail swelling and to part of the ventral wall of the post-anal gut. In the region of the head the rudiments of the heart (//) are far more definite. The medullary groove is still open for its whole length, but in the head it exhibits a series of well-marked dilatations. The foremost of these (v/t) is the rudiment of the fore-brain, from the sides of which there project the two optic vesicles (ab} ; the next is the mid-brain (ink), and the last is the hind-brain (///), which is again divided into smaller lobes by successive constrictions. The medullary groove behind the region of the somites dilates into an embryonic sinus rhomboidalis like that of the Bird. Traces of the amnion (of) are now apparent both in front of and behind the embryo.


A. magnified 22 times, and B. 21 times.

ap. area pellucida ; rf. medullary groove ; h' . medullary plate in the region of the future fore-brain; h". medullary plate in the region of the future mid-brain; vh. forebrain; ab. optic vesicle; mh. mid-brain; h!i. and h'" . hind-brain; tiw. mesoblastic somite; stz. vertebral zone; pz. lateral zone; hz. and h. heart; ph. pericardial section of body cavity ; vo. vitelline vein ; of. amnion fold.

The structure of the head and the formation of the heart at this age are illustrated in fig. 145. The widely-open medullary groove (rf) is shewn in the centre. Below it the hypoblast is thickened to form the notochord dcf ; and at the sides are seen the two tubes, which, on the folding-in of the fore-gut, give rise to the unpaired heart. Each of these is formed of an outer muscular tube of splanchnic mesoblast (a/i/i), not quite closed towards the hypoblast, and an inner epithelioid layer (ik/i) ; and is placed in a special section of the body cavity (//^), which afterwards forms the pericardial cavity.


B. is a more highly magnified representation of part of A.

rf. medullary groove ; mp. medullary plate ; rw. medullary fold ; h. epiblast ; dd. hypoblast; dd' . notochordal thickening of hypoblast; sp. undivided mesoblast; tip. somatic mesoblast ; dfp. splanchnic mesoblast ; ph. pericardial section of body cavity; ahk. muscular wall of heart; ihh. epithelioid layer of heart; nies. lateral undivided mesoblast ; s?v. fold of hypoblast which will form the ventral wall of the pharynx ; sr. commencing throat.

Before the ninth day is completed great external changes are usually effected. The medullary groove becomes closed for its whole length with the exception of a small posterior portion. The closure commences, as in Birds, in the region of the midbrain. Anteriorly the folding-off of the embryo proceeds so far that the head becomes quite free, and a considerable portion of the throat, ending blindly in front, becomes established. In the course of this folding the, at first widely separated, halves of the heart are brought together, coalesce on the ventral side of the throat, and so give rise to a median undivided heart. The fold at the tail end of the embryo progresses considerably, and during its advance the allantois is formed in the same way as in Birds. The somites increase in number to about twelve. The amniotic folds nearly meet above the embryo.

The later stages in the development proceed in the main in the same manner as in the Bird. The cranial flexure soon becomes very marked, the mid-brain forming the end of the long axis of the embryo (fig. 146). The sense organs have the usual development. Under the fore-brain appears an epiblastic involution giving rise both to the mouth and to the pituitary body. Behind the mouth are three well-marked pairs of visceral arches. The first of these is the mandibular arch (fig. 146, md\ which meets its fellow in the middle line, and forms the posterior boundary of the mouth. It sends forward on each side a superior maxillary process (mx) which partially forms the anterior margin of the mouth. Behind the mandibular arch are present a welldeveloped hyoid (hy) and a first branchial arch (not shewn in fig. 146). There are four clefts, as in other Amniota, but the fourth is not bounded behind by a definite arch. Only the first of these clefts persists as the tympanic cavity and Eustachian tube.

FIG. 146. ADVANCED EMBRYO OF A RABBIT (ABOUT TWELVE DAYS) 1 . mb. mid-brain; th. thalamencephalon ; ce. cerebral hemisphere; op. eye; iv.v. fourth ventricle; mx. maxillary process ; md. mandibular arch ; hy. hyoid arch;//, fore-limb; hi. hind-limb; urn. umbilical stalk.

1 This figure was drawn for me by my pupil, Mr Weldon.

At the time when the cranial flexure appears, the body also develops a sharp flexure immediately behind the head, which is thus bent forwards upon the posterior straight part of the body (fig. 146). The amount of this flexure varies somewhat in different forms. It is very marked in the dog (Bischoff). At a later period, and in some species even before the stage figured, the tail end of the body also becomes bent (fig. 146), so that the whole dorsal side assumes a convex curvature, and the head and tail become closely approximated. In most cases the embryo, on the development of the tail, assumes a more or less definite spiral curvature (fig. 146); which however never becomes nearly so marked a feature as it commonly is in Lacertilia and Ophidia. With the more complete development of the lower wall of the body the ventral flexure partially disappears, but remains more or less persistent till near the close of intra-uterine life. The limbs are formed as simple buds in the same manner as in Birds. The buds of the hind-limbs are directed somewhat forwards, and those of the fore-limb backwards.

Embryonic membranes and yolk-sack

The early stages in the development of the embryonic membranes are nearly the same as in Aves ; but during the later stages in the Placentalia the allantois enters into peculiar relations with the uterine walls, and the two, together with the interposed portion of the subzonal membrane or false amnion, give rise to a very characteristic Mammalian organ the placenta into the structure of which it will be necessary to enter at some length. The embryonic membranes vary so considerably in the different forms that it will be advantageous to commence with a description of their development in an ideal case.

We may commence with a blastodermic vesicle, closely invested by the delicate remnant of the zona radiata, at the stage in which the medullary groove is already established. Around the embryonic area a layer of mesoblast would have extended for a certain distance ; so as to give rise to an area vasculosa, in which however the blood-vessels would not have become definitely established. Such a vesicle is represented diagrammatically in fig. 147, 1. Somewhat later the embryo begins to be folded off, first in front and then behind (fig. 147, 2). These folds result in a constriction separating the embryo and the yolk-sack (ds), or as it is known in Mammalian embryology, the umbilical vesicle. The splitting of the mesoblast into a splanchnic and a somatic layer has taken place, and at the front and hind end of the embryo a fold (ks) of the somatic mesoblast and epiblast begins to rise up and grow over the head and tail of the embryo. These two folds form the commencement of the amnion. The head and tail folds of the amnion are continued round the two sides of the embryo, till they meet and unite into a continuous fold. This fold grows gradually upwards, but before it has completely enveloped the embryo, the blood-vessels of the area vasculosa become fully developed. They are arranged in a manner not very different from that in the chick.

The following is a brief account of their arrangement in the Rabbit :

The outer boundary of the area, which is continually extending further and further round the umbilical vesicle, is marked by a venous sinus terminalis (fig. 147, st). The area is not, as in the chick, a nearly complete circle, but is in front divided by a deep indentation extending inwards to the level of the heart. In consequence of this indentation the sinus terminalis ends in front in two branches, which bend inwards and fall directly into the main vitelline veins. The blood is brought from the dorsal aortas by a series of lateral vitelline arteries, and not by a single pair as in the chick. These arteries break up into a more deeply situated arterial network, from which the blood is continued partly into the sinus terminalis, and partly into a superficial venous network. The hinder end of the heart is continued into two vitelline veins, each of which divides into an anterior and a posterior branch. The anterior branch is a limb of the sinus terminalis, and the posterior and smaller branch is continued towards the hind part of the sinus, near which it ends. On its way it receives, on its outer side, numerous branches from the venous network, surface of the subzonal membrane and united with it to form the chorion. The cavity of the allantois is aborted. This fig. is a diagram of an early human ovum.


In i, 2, 3, 4 the embryo is represented in longitudinal section. i . Ovum with zona pellucida, blastodermic vesicle, and embryonic area. i. Ovum with commencing formation of umbilical vesicle and amnion.

3. Ovum with amnion about to close, and commencing allantois.

4. Ovum with villous subzonal membrane, larger allantois, and mouth and anus.

5. Ovum in which the mesoblast of the allantois has extended round the inner

d. zona radiata; d' '. processes of zona; sh. subzonal membrane; ch. chorion; ch.z. chorionic villi; am. amnion; ks. head-fold of amnion ; ss. tail-fold of amnion; a. epiblast of embryo; a. epiblast of non-embryonic part of the blastodermic vesicle;

. embryonic mesoblast; m' . non-embryonic mesoblast; df. area vasculosa; st. sinus terminalis; dd. embryonic hypoblast; i. non-embryonic hypoblast; kh. cavity of blastodermic vesicle, the greater part of which becomes the cavity of the umbilical vesicle ds. ; dg. stalk of umbilical vesicle ; al. allantois ; e. embryo ; r. space between chorion and amnion containing albuminous fluid; vl. ventral body wall; hh. pericardial cavity.

which connect by their anastomoses the posterior branch of the vitelline vein and the sinus terminalis.

While the above changes have been taking place the whole blastodermic vesicle, still enclosed in the zona, has become attached to the walls of the uterus. In the case of the typical uterus with two tubular horns, the position of each embryo, when there are several, is marked by a swelling in the walls of the uterus, preparatory to the changes which take place on the formation of the placenta. In the region of each swelling the zona around the blastodermic vesicle is closely embraced, in a ring-like fashion, by the epithelium of the uterine wall. The whole vesicle assumes an oval form, and it lies in the uterus with its two ends free. The embryonic area is placed close to the mesometric attachment of the uterus. In many cases peculiar processes or villi grow out from the ovum (fig. 147, 4, sz), which fit into the folds of the uterine epithelium. The nature of these processes requires further elucidation, but in some instances they appear to proceed from the zona (the Rabbit) and in other instances from the subzonal membrane (the Dog). In any case the attachment between the blastodermic vesicle and the uterine wall becomes so close at the time when the body of the embryo is first formed out of the embryonic area, that it is hardly possible to separate them without laceration ; and at this period from the 8th to the pth day in the Rabbit it requires the greatest care to remove the ovum from the uterus without injury. It will be understood of course that the attachment above described is at first purely superficial and not vascular.

Shortly after the establishment of the circulation of the yolk sack the folds of the amnion meet and coalesce above the embryo (fig. 147, 3 and 4, am). After this the inner or true amnion becomes severed from the outer or false amnion, though the two sometimes remain connected by a narrow stalk. Between the true and false amnion is a continuation of the body cavity. The true amnion consists of a layer of epiblastic epithelium and generally also of somatic mesoblast, while the false amnion consists, as a rule, of epiblast only ; though it is possible that in some cases (the Rabbit ?) the mesoblast may be continued along its inner face.

Before the two limbs of the amnion are completely severed, the epiblast of the umbilical vesicle becomes separated from the mesoblast and hypoblast of the vesicle (fig. 147, 3), and, together with the false amnion (s/i), with which it is continuous, forms a complete lining for the inner face of the zona radiata.


Structures which either are or have been at an earlier period of development continuous with each other are represented by the same character of shading.

pc. zona with villi; ss. subzonal membrane; E. epiblast of embryo; am. amnion; A C. amniotic cavity ; M. mesoblast of embryo ; H. hypoblast of embryo ; UV. umbilical vesicle; al. allantois; ALC. allantoic cavity.

The space between this membrane and the umbilical vesicle with the attached embryo is obviously continuous with the body cavity (vide figs. 147, 4 and 147*). To this membrane Turner has given the appropriate name of subzonal membrane: by Von Baer it was called the serous envelope. It soon fuses with the zona radiata, or at any rate the zona ceases to be distinguishable.

While the above changes are taking place in the amnion, the allantois grows out from the hind gut as a vesicle lined by hypoblast, but covered externally by a layer of splanchnic mesoblast (fig. 147, 3 and 4, a/) 1 . The allantois soon becomes a flat sack, projecting into the now largely developed space between the subzonal membrane and the amnion, on the dorsal side of the embryo (fig. 147*, ALC). In some cases it extends so as to cover the whole inner surface of the subzonal membrane; in other cases again its extension is much more limited. Its lumen may be retained or may become nearly or wholly aborted. A fusion takes place between the subzonal membrane and the adjoining mesoblastic wall of the allantois, and the two together give rise to a secondary membrane round the ovum, known as the chorion. Since however the allantois does not always come in contact with the whole inner surface of the subzonal membrane, the term chorion is apt to be somewhat vague ; and in the rabbit, for instance, a considerable part of the so-called chorion is formed by a fusion of the wall of the yolksack with the subzonal membrane (fig. 148). The placental region of the chorion may in such cases be distinguished as the true chorion, from the remaining part which will be called the false chorion.

The mesoblast of the allantois, especially that part of it which assists in forming the chorion, becomes highly vascular ; the blood being brought to it by two allantoic arteries continued from the terminal bifurcation of the dorsal aorta, and returned to the body by one, or rarely two, allantoic veins, which join the vitelline veins from the yolk-sack. From the outer surface of the true chorion (fig. 147, 5, d, 148) villi grow out and fit into crypts or depressions which have in the meantime made their appearance in the walls of the uterus 1 . The villi of the.chorion are covered by an epithelium derived from the subzonal membrane, and are provided with a connective tissue core containing an artery and vein and a capillary plexus connecting them. In most cases they assume a more or less arborescent form, and have a distribution on the surface of the chorion varying characteristically in different species. The walls of the crypts into which the villi are fitted also become highly vascular, and a nutritive fluid passes from the maternal vessels of the placenta to the fcetal vessels by a process of diffusion ; while there is probably also a secretion by the epithelial lining of the walls of the crypts, which becomes absorbed by the vessels of the fcetal villi. The above maternal and fcetal structures constitute together the organ known as the placenta. The maternal portion consists essentially of the vascular crypts in the uterine walls, and the fcetal portion of more or less arborescent villi of the true chorion fitting into these crypts.

1 The hypoblastic element in the allantois is sometimes very much reduced, so that the allantois may he mainly formed of a vascular layer of mesoblast.

While the placenta is being developed, the folding-off of the embryo from the yolk-sack becomes more complete ; and the yolk-sack remains connected with the ileal region of the intestine by a narrow stalk, the vitelline duct (fig. 147, 4 and 5 and fig. 147*), consisting of the same tissues as the yolk-sack, viz. hypoblast and splanchnic mesoblast. While the true splanchnic stalk of the yolk-sack is becoming narrow, a somatic stalk connecting the amnion with the walls of the embryo is also formed, and closely envelops the stalk both of the allantois and the yolk-sack. The somatic stalk together with its contents is known as the umbilical cord. The mesoblast of the somatopleuric layer of the cord develops into a kind of gelatinous tissue, which cements together the whole of the contents. The allantoic arteries in the cord wind in a spiral manner round the allantoic vein. The yolk-sack in many cases atrophies completely before the close of intra-uterine life, but in other cases it is only removed with the other embryonic membranes at birth. The intra-embryonic portion of the allantoic stalk gives rise to two structures, viz. to (-1) the urinary bladder formed by a dilatation of its proximal extremity, and to (2) a cord known as the urachus connecting the bladder with the wall of the body at the umbilicus. The urachus, in cases where the cavity of the allantois persists till birth, remains as an open passage connecting the intra- and extra-embryonic parts of the allantois. In other cases it gradually closes, and becomes nearly solid before birth, though a delicate but interrupted lumen would appear to persist in it. It eventually gives rise to the ligamentum vesicae medium.

1 These crypts have no connection with the openings of glands in the walls of the uterus. They are believed by Ercolani to be formed to a large extent by a regeneration of the lining tissue of the uterine walls.

At birth the foetal membranes, including the fcetal portion of the placenta, are shed ; but in many forms the interlocking of the fcetal villi with the uterine crypts is so close that the uterine mucous membrane is carried away with the fcetal part of the placenta. It thus comes about that in some placentae the maternal and fcetal parts simply separate from each other at birth, and in others the two remain intimately locked together, and both are shed together as the after-birth. These two forms of placenta are distinguished as non-deciduate and deciduate, but it has been shewn by Ercolani and Turner that no sharp line can be drawn between the two types ; moreover, a larger part of the uterine mucous membrane than that forming the maternal part of the placenta is often shed in the deciduate Mammalia, and in the non-deciduate Mammalia it is probable that the mucous membrane (not including vascular parts) of the maternal placenta either peels or is absorbed.

Comparative history of the Mammalian foetal membranes.

Two groups of Mammalia the Monotremata and the Marsupialia are believed not to be provided with a true placenta.

The nature of the fcetal membranes in the Monotremata is not known. Ova, presumably in an early stage of development, have been found free in the uterus of Ornithorhyncus by Owen. The lining membrane of the uterus was thickened and highly vascular. The females in which these were found were killed early in October 1 .

1 The following is Owen's account of the young after birth (Comp. Anat. of Vertebrates, Vol. in. p. 717) : " On the eighth of December Dr Bennet discovered in "the subterranean nest of Ornithorhyncus three living young, naked, not quite two "inches in length." On the i2th of August, 1864, "a female Echidna hystrix was " captured .... having a young one with its head buried in a mammary or marsupial " fossa. This young one was naked, of a bright reel colour, and one inch two lines in "length."


Our knowledge of the foetal membranes of the Marsupialia is almost entirely due to Owen. In Macropus major he found that birth took place thirty-eight days after impregnation. A foetus at the twentieth day of gestation measured eight lines from the mouth to the root of the tail. The foetus was enveloped in a large subzonal membrane, with folds fitting into uterine furrows, but not adhering to the uterus, and witlwut villi. The embryo was enveloped in an amnion reflected over the stalk of the yolk-sack, which was attached by a filamentary pedicle to near the end of the ileum. The yolksack was large and vascular, and was connected with the fostal vascular system by a vitelline artery and two veins. The yolksack was partially adherent, especially at one part, to the subzonal membrane. No allantois was observed. In a somewhat older foetus of ten lines in length there was a small allantois supplied by two allantoic arteries and one vein. The allantois was quite free and not attached to the subzonal membrane. The yolk-sack was more closely attached to the subzonal membrane than in the younger embryo 1 .

All Mammalia, other than the Monotremata and Marsupialia, have a true allantoic placenta. The placenta presents a great variety of forms, and it will perhaps be most convenient first to treat these varieties in succession, and then to give a general exposition of their mutual affinities 2 .

Amongst the existing Mammals provided with a true placenta, the most primitive type is probably retained by those forms in which the placental part of the chorion is confined to a comparatively restricted area on the dorsal side of the embryo ; while the false chorion is formed by the vascular yolk-sack fusing with the remainder of the subzonal membrane. In all the existing forms with this arrangement of foetal membranes, the placenta is deciduate. This, however, was probably not the case in more primitive forms from which these are descended 1 . The placenta would appear from Ercolani's description to be simpler in the mole (Talpa) than in other species. The Insectivora, Cheiroptera, and Rodentia are the groups with this type of placenta ; and since the rabbit, amongst the latter, has been more fully worked out than other species, we may take it first.

1 Owen quotes in the Anatomy of Vertebrates* Vol. in. p. 721, a description from Rengger of the development of Didelphis azarse, which would seem to imply that a vascular adhesion arises between the uterine walls and the subzonal membrane, but the description is too vague to be of any value in determining the nature of the fcetal membranes.

2 Numerous contributions to our knowledge of the various types of placenta have been made during the last few years, amongst which those of Turner and Ercolani may be singled out, both from the variety of forms with which they deal, and the important light they have thrown on the structure of the placenta.

The Rabbit. In the pregnant female Rabbit several ova are generally found in each horn of the uterus. The general condition of the eggmembranes at the time of their full development is shewn in fig. 148.

The embryo is surrounded by the amnion, which is comparatively small. The ;yolk-sack (ds) is large and attached to the embryo by a long stalk. It has the form of a flattened sack closely applied to about two-thirds of the surface of the subzonal membrane. The outer wall of this sack, adjoining the subzonal membrane, is formed of hypoblast only ; but the inner wall is covered by the mesoblast of the area vasculosa, as indicated by the thick black line (fd}. The vascular area is bordered by the sinus terminalis (st}. In an earlier stage of development the yolk-sack had not the compressed form represented in the figure. It is, however, remarkable that the vascular area never extends over the whole yolk-sack ; but the inner vascular wall of the yolksack fuses with the outer, and with the subzonal membrane, and so forms a false chorion, which receives its blood supply from the yolksack. This part of the chorion does not develop vascular villi.

The allantois (al) is a simple vascular sack with a large cavity. Part of its wall is applied to the subzonal membrane, and gives rise to the true chorion, from which there project numerous vascular villi. These fit into corresponding uterine crypts. It seems probable, from Bischoff's and Kolliker's observations, that the subzonal membrane in the area of the placenta becomes attached to the uterine wall, by means of villi, even before its fusion with the allantois. In the later periods of gestation the intermingling of the maternal and fcetal parts of the placenta becomes very close, and the placenta is truly deciduate. The cavity of the allantois persists till birth. Between the yolk-sack, the allantois, and the embryo, there is left a large cavity filled with an albuminous fluid.

1 Vide Ercolani, No. 197, and Harting, No. 201, and also Von Baer, Entivicklungsgeschichte table on p. 225, part I., where the importance of the limited area of attachment of the allantois as compared with the yolk-sack is distinctly recognised.


e. embryo ; a. amnion ; a. urachus ; al. allantois with blood-vessels; s/i. subzonal membrane; pi. placental villi ; fd. vascular layer of yolk-sack ; ed. hypoblastic layer of yolk-sack; ed' '. inner portion of hypoblast, and ed". outer portion of hypoblast lining the compressed cavity of the yolksack ; ds. cavity of yolk-sack ; st. sinus terminalis ; r. space filled with fluid between the amnion, the allantois and the yolk-sack.

The Hare does not materially differ in the arrangement of its foetal membranes from the Rabbit.

In the Rat (Mus decumanus) (fig. 149) the sack of the allantois completely atrophies before the close of fcetal life 1 , and there is developed, at the junction of the maternal part of the placenta and the unaltered mucous membrane of the uterus, a fold of the mucous membrane which completely encapsules the whole chorion, and forms a separate chamber for it, distinct from the general lumen of the uterus. Folds of this nature, which are specially developed in Man and Apes, are known as a decidua reflexa. The decidua reflexa of the Rat is reduced to extreme tenuity, or even vanishes before the close of gestation.


a. uterine vein ; b. uterine wall ; c. cavernous portion of uterine wall ; d. deciduous portion of uterus with cavernous structure; i. large vein passing to the foetal portion of the placenta ; f. false chorion supplied by vitelline vessels ; k. vitelline vessel ; /. allantoic vessel; g. boundary of true placenta; e, m, m, e. line of junction of the deciduate and non-deciduate parts of the uterine wall.


The development of the Guinea-pig is dealt with elsewhere, but, so far as its peculiarities permit a comparison with the Rabbit, the agreement between the two types appears to be fairly close.

1 This is denied by Nasse ; vide Kolliker, No. 183, p. 361.

The blastodermic vesicle of the Guinea-pig becomes completely enveloped in a capsule of the uterine wall (decidua reflexa) (fig. 150). The epithelium of the blastodermic vesicle in contact with the uterine wall is not epiblastic, but corresponds with the hypoblast of the yolk-sack of other forms, and the mesoblast of the greater part of the inner side of this becomes richly vascular (yk) ; the vascular area being bounded by a sinus terminalis.

The blastodermic vesicle is so situated within its uterine capsule that the embryo is attached to the part of it adjoining the free side of the uterus. From the opposite side of the uterus, viz. that to which the mesometrium is attached, there grow into the wall of the blastodermic vesicle numerous vascular processes of the uterine wall, which establish at this point an organic connection between the two (pi). The blood-vessels of the blastodermic vesicle (yolksack) stop short immediately around the area of attachment to the uterus ; but at a late period the allantois grows towards, and fuses with this area. The blood-vessels of the allantois and of the uterus become intertwined, and a disc-like placenta more or less similar to that in the Rabbit becomes formed (pi). developed, vanishes completely.

In all the Rodentia the placenta appears to be situated on the mesometric side of the uterus.

Insectivora. In the Mole (Talpa) and the Shrew (Sorex), the foetal membranes are in the main similar to those in the rabbit, and a deciduate discoidal placenta is always present. It may be situated anywhere in the circumference of the uterine tube. The allantoic cavity persists (Owen), but the allantois only covers the placental area of the chorion. The yolk-sack is persistent, and fuses with the non-allantoic part of the subzonal membrane ; which is rendered vascular by its blood-vessels. There would seem to be (Owen) a small decidua reflexa. A similar arrangement is found in the Hedgehog (Erinaceus Europaeus) (Rolleston), in which the placenta occupies the typical dorsal position. It is not clear from Rolleston's description whether the yolk-sack persists till the close of foetal life, but it seems probable that it does so. There is a considerable reflexa which does not, however, cover the whole chorion. In the Tenrec (Centetes) the yolk-sack and non-placental part of the chorion are described by Rolleston as being absent, but it seems not impossible that this may have been owing to the bad state of preservation of the specimen. The amnion is large. In the Cheiroptera ( Vespertilio and Pteropus], the yolk-sack is large, and coalesces with part of the chorion. The large yolk-sack has been observed in Pteropus by Rolleston, and in Vespertilio by Owen. The allantoic vessels supply the placenta only. The Cheiroptera are usually uniparous.


yk. yolk-sack (umbilical vesicle) formed of an external hypoblastic layer (shaded) and an internal mesoblastic vascular layer (black). At the end of this layer is placed the sinus terminalis ; all. allantois ; //. placenta.

The external shaded parts are the uterine walls.

The cavity of the allantois, if

Simiadao and Anthropidae. The foetal membranes of Apes and Man, though in their origin unlike those of the Rodentia and Insectivora, are in their ultimate form similar to them, and may be conveniently dealt with here. The early stages in the development of these membranes in the human embryo have not been satisfactorily observed ; but it is known that the ovum, shortly after its entrance into the uterus, becomes attached to the uterine wall, which in the meantime has undergone considerable preparatory changes. A fold of the uterine wall appears to grow round the blastodermic vesicle, and to form a complete capsule for it, but the exact mode of formation of this capsule is a matter of inference and not of observation. During the first fortnight of pregnancy villi grow out, according to Allen Thomson over its whole surface, but according to Reichert in a ring-like fashion round the edge of the somewhat flattened ovum, and attach it to the uterus. The further history of the early stages is extremely obscure, and to a large extent a matter of speculation : what is known with reference to it will be found in a special section, but I shall here take up the history at about the fourth week.

At this stage a complete chorion has become formed, and is probably derived from a growth of the mesoblast of the allantois (unaccompanied by the hypoblast) round the whole inner surface of the subzonal membrane. From the whole surface of the chorion there project branched vascular processes, covered by an epithelium. The allantois is without a cavity, but a hypoblastic epithelium is present in the allantoic stalk, through which it does not, however, form a continuous tube. The blood-vessels of the chorion are derived from the usual allantoic arteries and vein. The general condition of the embryo and of its membranes at this period is shewn diagrammatically in fig. 147, 5. Around the embryo is seen the amnion, already separated by a considerable interval from the embryo. The yolk-sack is shewn at ds. Relatively to the other parts it is considerably smaller than it was at an earlier stage. The allantoic stalk is shewn at al. Both it and the stalk of the yolk-sack are enveloped by the amnion (ant). The chorion with its vascular processes surrounds the whole embryo.

It may be noted that the condition of the chorion at this stage is very similar to that of the normal diffused type of placenta, described in the sequel.

While the above changes are taking place in the embryonic membranes, the blastodermic vesicle greatly increases in size, and forms a considerable projection from the upper wall of the uterus. Three regions of the uterine wall, in relation to the blastodermic vesicle, are usually distinguished ; and since the superficial parts of all of these are thrown off with the afterbirth, each of them is called a decidua. They are represented at a somewhat later stage in fig. 151. There is (i) the part of the wall reflected over the blastodermic vesicle, called the decidua reflexa (dr) ; (2) the part of the wall forming the area round which the reflexa is inserted, called the decidua serotina (<&) ; (3) the general wall of the uterus, not related to the embryo, called the decidua vera (du).

The decidua reflexa and serotina together envelop the chorion, the processes of which fit into crypts in them. At this period both of them are highly and nearly uniformly vascular. The general cavity of the uterus is to a large extent obliterated by the ovum, but still persists as a space filled with mucus, between the decidua reflexa and the decidua vera.

The changes which ensue from this period onwards are fully known. The amriion continues to dilate (its cavity being intensely filled with amniotic fluid) till it comes very close to the chorion (fig. 151, am) ; from which, however, it remains separated by a layer of gelatinous tissue. The villi of the chorion in the region covered by the decidua reflexa, gradually cease to be vascular, and partially atrophy, but in the region in contact with the decidua serotina increase and become more vascular and more arborescent (fig. 151, z). The former region becomes known as the chorion lasve, and the latter as the chorion frondosum. The chorion f rondo sum, together with the decidua serotina, gives rise to the placenta.


al. allantoic stalk; nb. umbilical vesicle; am. amnion; ch. chorion; ds. decidua serotina; du. decidua vera; dr. decidua reflexa; /. Fallopian tube; c. cervix uteri; n. uterus; z. fcetal villi of true placenta; z. villi of non-placental part of chorion.

Although the vascular supply is cut off from the chorion lasve, the processes on its surface do not completely abort. It becomes, as the time of birth approaches, more and more closely united with the reflexa, till the union between the two is so close that their exact boundaries cannot be made out. The umbilical vesicle (fig. 151, ti&), although it becomes greatly reduced in size and flattened, persists in a recognisable form till the time of birth.

As the embryo enlarges, the space between the decidua vera and decidua reflexa becomes reduced, and finally the two parts unite together. The decidua vera is mainly characterised by the presence of peculiar roundish cells in its subepithelial tissue, and by the disappearance of a distinct lining of epithelial cells. During the whole of pregnancy it remains highly vascular. The decidua reflexa, on the disappearance of the vessels in the chorion lieve, becomes non-vascular. Its tissue undergoes changes in the main similar to those of the decidua vera, and as has been already mentioned, it fuses on the one hand with the chorion, and on the other with the decidua vera. The membrane resulting from its fusion with the latter structure becomes thinner and thinner as pregnancy advances, and is reduced to a thin layer at the time of birth.

The placenta has a somewhat discoidal form, with a slightly convex uterine surface and a concave embryonic surface. At its edge it is continuous both with the decidua reflexa and decidua vera. Near the centre of the embryonic surface is implanted the umbilical cord. As has already been mentioned, the placenta is formed of the decidua serotina and the fcetal villi of the chorion frondosum. The fcetal and maternal tissues are far more closely united (fig. 152) than in the forms described above. The villi of the chorion, which were originally comparatively simple, become more and more complicated, and assume an extremely arborescent form. Each of them contains a vein and an artery, which subdivide to enter the complicated ramifications ; and are connected together by a rich anastomosis. The villi are formed mainly of connective tissue, but are covered by an epithelial layer generally believed to be derived from the subzonal membrane ; but, as was first stated by Goodsir, and has since been more fully shewn by Ercolani and Turner, this epithelial layer is really a part of the cellular decidua serotina of the uterine wall, which has become adherent to the villi in the development of the placenta (fig. 161, g). The placenta is divided into a number of lobes, usually called cotyledons, by septa which pass towards the chorion. These septa, which belong to the serotina, lie between the arborescent villi of the chorion. The cotyledons themselves consist of a network of tissue permeated by large vascular spaces, formed by the dilatation of the maternal blood-vessels of the serotina, into which the ramifications of the fcetal villi project. In these spaces they partly float freely, and partly are attached to delicate trabecuke of the maternal tissue (fig. 161, G). They are, of course, separated from the maternal blood by the uterine epithelial layer before mentioned. The blood is brought to the maternal part of the placenta by spirally coiled arteries, which do not divide into capillaries, but open into the large blood-spaces already spoken of. From these spaces there pass off oblique utero-placental veins, which pierce the serotina, and form a system of large venous sinuses in the adjoining uterine wall (fig. 152, F), and eventually fall into the general uterine venous system. At birth the


A. umbilical cord; B. chorion; C. foetal villi separated by processes of the decidua serotina, D ; E, F, G. walls of uterus.

whole placenta, together with the fused decidua vera, and reflexa, with which it is continuous, is shed ; and the blood-vessels thus ruptured are closed by the contraction of the uterine wall.

The fcetal membranes and the placenta of the Simiadas (Turner, No. 225) are in most respects closely similar to those in Man ; but the placenta is, in most cases, divided into two lobes, though in the Chimpanzee, Cynocephalus, and the Apes of the New World, it appears to be single.

The types of deciduate placenta so far described, are usually classified by anatomists as discoidal placentas, although it must be borne in mind that they differ very widely. In the Rodentia, Insectivora, and Cheiroptera there is a (usually) dorsal placenta, which is co-extensive with the area of contact between the allantois and the subzonal membrane, while the yolk-sack adheres to a large part of the subzonal membrane. In Apes and Man the allantois spreads over the whole inner surface of the subzonal membrane ; the placenta is on the ventral side of the embryo, and occupies only a small part of the surface of the allantois. The placenta of Apes and Man might be called metadiscoidal, in order to distinguish it from the primitive discoidal placenta of the Rodentia and Insectivora.

In the Armadilloes (Dasypus) the placenta is truly discoidal and deciduate (Owen and Kolliker). Alf. Milne Edwards states that in Dasypus novemcinctus the placenta is zonary, and both Kolliker and he found four embryos in the uterus, each with its own amnion, but the placenta of all four united together ; and all four enclosed in a common chorion. A reflexa does not appear to be present. In the Sloths the placenta approaches the discoidal type (Turner, No. 218). It occupies in Cholaspus Hoffmanni about fourfifths of the surface of the chorion, and is composed of about thirty-four discoid lobes. It is truly deciduate, and the maternal capillaries are replaced by a system of sinuses (fig. 161). The amnion is close to the inner surface of the chorion. A dome-shaped placenta is also found amongst the Edentata in Myrmecophaga and Tamandua (Milne Edwards, No. 208).

Zonary Placenta. Another form of deciduate placenta is known as the zonary. This form of placenta occupies a broad zone of the chorion, leaving the two poles free. It is found in the Carnivora, Hyrax, Elephas, and Orycteropus.

It is easy to understand how the zonary placenta may be derived from the primitive arrangement of the membranes (vide p. 240) by the extension of a discoidal placental area to a zonary area, but it is possible that some of the types of zonary placenta may have been evolved from the concentration of a diffused placenta (vide p. 261) to a zonary area. The absence of the placenta at the extreme poles of the chorion is explained by the fact of their not being covered by a reflection of the uterine mucous membrane. In the later periods of pregnancy the placental area becomes, however, in most forms much more restricted than the area of contact between the uterus and chorion.

In the Dog 1 , which may be taken as type, there is a large vascular yolksack formed in the usual way, which does not however fuse with the chorion. It extends at first quite to the end of the citron-shaped ovum, and persists till birth. The allantois first grows out on the dorsal side of the embryo, where it coalesces with the subzonal membrane, over a small discoidal area.

Before the fusion of the allantois with the subzonal membrane, there grow out from the whole surface of the external covering of the ovum, except the poles, numerous non-vascular villi, which fit into uterine crypts. When the allantois adheres to the subzonal membrane vascular processes grow out from it into these villi. The vascular villi so formed are of course at first confined to the disc-shaped area of adhesion between the allantois and the subzonal membrane ; and there is thus formea a rudimentary discoidal placenta, closely resembling that of the Rodentia. The view previously stated, that the zonary placenta is derived from the discoidal one, receives from this fact a strong support.

The cavity of the allantois is large, and its inner part is in contact with the amnion. The area of adhesion between the outer part of the allantois and subzonal membrane gradually spreads over the whole interior of the subzonal membrane, and vascular villi are formed over the whole area of adhesion except at the two extreme poles of the egg. The last part to be covered is the ventral side where the yolk-sack adjoins the subzonal membrane.

1 Vide Bischoff, No. 175.

During the extension of the allantois its cavity persists, and its inner part covers not only the amnion, but also the yolk-sack. It adheres to the amnion and supplies it with blood-vessels (Bischoff).

With the full growth of the allantois there is formed a broad placental zone, with numerous branched villi, fitting into corresponding pits which become developed in the uterine walls. The maternal and fcetal structures become closely interlocked and highly vascular ; and at birth a large part of the maternal part is carried away with the placenta ; some of it however still remains attached to the muscular wall of the uterus. The villi of the chorion do not fit into uterine glands. The zone of the placenta diminishes greatly in proportion to the chorion as the latter elongates, and at the full time the breadth of the zone is not more than about one-fifth of the whole length of the chorion.

At the edge of the placental zone there is a very small portion of the uterine mucous membrane reflected over the non-placental part of the chorion, which forms a small reflexa analogous with the reflexa in Man.

The Carnivora generally closely resemble the Dog, but in the Cat the whole of the maternal part of the placenta is carried away with the fcetal parts, so that the placenta is more completely deciduate than in the Dog. In the Grey Seal (Halichcerus gryphus, Turner, No. 219) the general arrangement of the foetal membranes is the same as in the other groups of the Carnivora, but there is a considerable reflexa developed at the edge of the placenta. The fcetal part of the placenta is divided by a series of primary fissures which give off secondary and tertiary fissures. Into the fissures there pass vascular laminae of the uterine wall. The general surface of the foetal part of the placenta between the fissures is covered by a greyish membrane formed of the coalesced terminations of the fcetal villi.

The structure of the placenta in Hyrax is stated by Turner (No. 221) to be very similar to that in the Felidae. The allantoic sack is large, and covers the whole surface of the subzonal membrane. The amnion is also large, but the yolk-sack would seem to disappear at an early stage, instead of persisting, as in the Carnivora, till the close of fcetal life.

The Elephant (Owen, Turner, Chapman) is provided with a zonary deciduate placenta, though- a villous patch is present near each pole of the chorion.

Turner (No. 220) has shewn that in Orycteropus there is present a zonary placenta, which differs however in several particulars from the normal zonary placenta of the Carnivora ; and it is even doubtful whether it is truly deciduate. There is a single embryo, which fills up the body of the uterus and also projects into only one of the horns. The placenta forms a broad median zone, leaving the two poles free. The breadth of the zone is considerably greater than is usual in Carnivora, one-half or more of the whole longitudinal diameter of the chorion being occupied by the placenta. The chorionic villi are arborescent, and diffusely scattered, and though the maternal and fcetal parts are closely interwoven, it has not been ascertained whether the adhesion between them is sufficient to cause the maternal subepithelial tissue to be carried away with the fcetal part of the placenta at birth. The allantois is adherent to the whole chorion, the nonplacental parts of which are vascular. In the umbilical cord a remnant of the allantoic vesicle was present in the embryos observed by Turner, but in the absence of a large allantoic cavity the Cape Ant-eater differs greatly from the Carnivora. The amnion and allantois were in contact, but no yolk sack was observed.

Non-deciduate placenta. The remaining Mammalia are characterized by a non-deciduate placenta ; or at least by a placenta in which only parts of the maternal epithelium and no vascular maternal structures are carried away at parturition. The non-deciduate placentae are divided into two groups : (i) The polycotyledonary placenta, characteristic of the true Ruminantia (Cervidae, Antilopidae, Bovida?, Camelopardalidae) ; (2) the diffused placenta found in the other non-deciduate Mammalia, viz. the Perissodactyla, the Suidae, the Hippopotamidae, the Tylopoda, the Tragulidae, the Sirenia, the Cetacea, Manis amongst the Edentata, and the Lemuridae. The polycotyledonary form is the most differentiated ; and is probably a modification of the diffused form. The diffused non-deciduate placenta is very easily derived from the primitive type (p. 240) by an extension of the allantoic portion of the chorion ; and the exclusion of the yolk-sack from any participation in forming the chorion.

The possession in common of a diffused type of placenta is by no means to be regarded as a necessary proof of affinity between two groups, and there are often, even amongst animals possessing a diffused form of placenta, considerable differences in the general arrangement of the embryonic membranes.

Ungulata. Although the Ungulata include forms with both cotyledonary and diffused placentae, the general arrangement of the embryonic membranes is so similar throughout the group, that it will be convenient to commence with a description of them, which will fairly apply both to the Ruminantia and to the other forms.

The blastodermic vesicle during the early stages of development lies freely in the uterus ; and no non-vascular villi, similar to those of the Dog or the Rabbit, are formed before the appearance of the allantois. The blastodermic vesicle has at first the usual spherical form, but it grows out at an early period, and with prodigious rapidity, into two immensely long horns ; which in cases where there is only one embryo are eventually prolonged for the whole length of the two horns of the uterus. The embryonic area is formed in the usual way, and its long axis is placed at right angles to that of the vesicle. On the formation of an amnion there is formed the usual subzonal membrane, which soon becomes separated by a considerable space from the yolk-sack (fig. 153). The yolk-sack is, however, continued into two elongated processes (yk), which pass to the two extremities of the subzonal membrane. It is supplied with the normal blood-vessels. As soon as the allantois appears (fig. 153 all], it grows out into a right and a left process, which rapidly fill the whole free space within the subzonal membrane and in many cases, e.g. the Pig (Von Baer), break through the ends of the membrane, from which they project as the diverticula allantoidis. The cavity of the allantois remains large, but the lining of hypoblast becomes separated from the mesoblast, owing to the more rapid growth of the latter. The mesoblast of the allantois applies itself externally to the subzonal membrane to form the chorion 1 , and internally to the amnion, the cavity of which remains very small. The chorionic portion of the allantoic mesoblast is very vascular, and that applied to the amnion also becomes vascular in the later developmental periods.


yk. yolk-sack; all. allantois just sprouting as a bilobed sack.

The horns of the yolk-sack gradually atrophy, and the whole yolksack disappears some time before birth.

Where two or more embryos are present in the uterus, the chorions of the several embryos may unite where they are in contact.

From the chorion there grow out numerous vascular villi, which fit into corresponding pits in the uterine walls. According to the distribution of these villi, the allantois is either diffused or polycotyledonary.

The pig presents the simplest type of diffused placenta. The villi of the surface of the chorion cover a broad zone, leaving only the two poles free; their arrangement differs therefore from that in a zonary placenta in the greater breadth of the zone covered by them. The villi have the form of simple papilla;, arranged on a series of ridges, which are highly vascular as compared with the intervening valleys. If an injected chorion is examined (fig. 154^ certain clear non-vascular spots are to be seen (b), from which the ridges of villi radiate. The surface of the uterus adapts itself exactly to the elevations of the chorion ; and the furrows which receive the chorionic ridges are highly vascular (fig. 155). On the other hand, there are non-vascular circular depressions corresponding to the non-vascular areas on the chorion ; and in these areas, and in these alone, the glands of the uterus open (fig. 155 g) (Turner). The maternal and foetal parts of the placenta in the pig separate with very great ease.

1 According to Bischoff the subzonal membrane atrophies, leaving the allantoic mesoblast to constitute the whole chorion.


The figure shews a minute circular spot (l>) (enclosed by a vascular ring) from which villous ridges (r) radiate.


The fig. shews a circular non-vascular spot where a gland opens (g ) surrounded by numerous vascular crypts (cr).


ch. chorion with its villi partly in situ and partly drawn out of the crypts (cr) ; E. loose epithelial cells which formed the lining of the crypt; g. uterine glands; v. blood-vessels.

In the mare (Turner), the foetal villi are arranged in a less definite zonary band than in the pig, though still absent for a very small area at both poles of the chorion, and also opposite the os uteri. The filiform villi, though to the naked eye uniformly scattered, are, when magnified, found to be clustered together in minute cotyledons, which fit into corresponding uterine crypts (fig. 156). Surrounding the uterine crypts are reticulate ridges on which are placed the openings of the uterine glands. The remaining Ungulata with diffused placentas do not differ in any important particulars from those already described.

The polycotyledonary form of placenta is found in the Ruminantia alone. Its essential character consists in the foetal villi not being uniformly distributed, but collected into patches or cotyledons which form as it were so many small placentae (fig. 157). The foetal villi of these patches fit into corresponding pits in thickened patches of the wall of the uterus (figs. 158 and 159). In many cases (Turner), the interlocking of the maternal and foetal structures is so close that large parts of the maternal epithelium are carried away when the foetal villi are separated from the uterus. The glands of the uterus open in the intervals between the cotyledons. The character of the cotyledons differs greatly in different types. The maternal parts are cup-shaped in the sheep, and mushroomshaped in the cow. There are from 60100 in the cow and sheep, but only about five or six in the Roe-deer. In the Giraffe there are, in addition to larger and smaller cotyledons, rows and clusters of short villi, so that the placenta is more or less intermediate between the polycotyledonary and diffused types (Turner). A similarly intermediate type of placenta is found in Cervus mexicanus (Turner).


(From Huxley after Colin.) V. vagina; U. uterus; Ch. chorion; C\ uterine cotyledons; C 2 . fcetal cotyledons.

FIG. 158. COTYLEDON OF A Cow, THE FCETAL AND MATERNAL PARTS HALF SEPARATED. (From Huxley after Colin.) u. uterus; Ch. chorion; C 1 . maternal part of cotyledon; C 2 . fetal part.


cr. crypts ; e. epithelial lining of crypts ; v. veins and c. curling arteries of subepithelial connective tissue.

The groups not belonging to the Ungulata which are characterized by the possession of a diffused placenta are the Sirenia, the Cetacea, Manis, and the Lemuridae.

Sirenia. Of the Sirenia, the placentation of the Dugong is known from some observations of Harting (No. 201).

It is provided with a diffuse and non-deciduate placenta ; with the villi generally scattered except at the poles. The umbilical vesicle vanishes early.

Cetacea. In the Cetacea, if we may generalize from Turner's observations on Orca Gladiator and the Narwhal, and those of Anderson (No. 191) on Platanista and Orcella, the blastodermic vesicle is very much elongated, and prolonged unsymmetrically into two horns. The mesoblast (fig. 160) of the allantois would appear to grow round the whole inner surface of the subzonal membrane, but the cavity of the allantois only persists as a widish sack on the ventral aspect of the embryo (al). The amnion (am) is enormous, and is dorsally in apposition with, and apparently coalesces with the chorion, and ventrally covers the inner wall of the persistent allantoic sack. The chorion, except for a small area at the two poles and opposite the os uteri, is nearly uniformly covered with villi, which are more numerous than in fig. 160. In the large size of the amnion, and small dimensions of the persistent allantoic sack, the Cetacea differ considerably from the Ungulata.

FIG. 160. DIAGRAM OF THE FCETAL MEMBRANES IN ORCA GLADIATOR. (From Turner.) ck. chorion; am. amnion; al. allantois; E. embryo.

Manis. Manis amongst the Edentata presents a type of diffused placenta 1 . The villi are arranged in ridges which radiate from a non-villous longitudinal strip on the concave surface of the chorion.

Manis presents us with the third type of placenta found amongst the Edentata. On this subject, I may quote the following sentence from Turner (Journal of Anat. and Phys., vol. x., p. 706).

"The Armadilloes (Dasypus), according to Professor Owen, possess a single, thin, oblong, disc-shaped placenta ; a specimen, probably Dasypus gymnurus, recently described by Kolliker 2 , had a transversely oval placenta, which occupied the upper rds of the uterus. In Manis, as Dr Sharpey has shewn, the placenta is diffused over the surfaces of the chorion and uterine mucosa. In Myrmecophaga and Tamandua, as MM. Milne Edwards have pointed out, the placenta is set on the chorion in a dome-like manner. In the Sloths, as I have elsewhere described, the placenta is dome-like in its general form, and consists of a number of aggregated, discoid lobes. In Orycteropus, as I have now shewn, the placenta is broadly zonular. "

Lemuridae. The Lemurs in spite of their affinities with the Primates and Insectivora have, as has been shewn by Milne Edwards and Turner, an apparently very different form of placenta. There is only one embryo, which occupies the body and one of the cornua of the uterus. The yolk-sack disappears early, and the allantois (Turner) bulges out into a right and left lobe, which meet above the back of the embryo. The cavity of the allantois persists, and the mesoblast of the outer wall fuses with the subzonal membrane (the hypoblastic epithelium remaining distinct) to give rise to the chorion.

On the surface of the chorion are numerous vascular villi, which fit into uterine crypts. They are generally distributed, though absent at the two ends of the chorion and opposite the os uteri. Their distribution accords with Turner's diffused type. Patches bare of villi correspond with smooth areas on the surface of the uterine mucosa in which numerous utricular glands open. There is no reflexa.

1 The observations on this head were made by Sharpey, and are quoted by Huxley (No. 202) and with additional observations by Turner in his Memoir on the placentalion of the Sloths. Anderson (No. 191) has also recently confirmed Sharpey's account of the diffused character of the placenta of Manis.

Entwicklungsgcschichte des Menschen, etc., 2nd ed., p. 362. Leipzig, 1876.

Although the Lemurian type of placenta undoubtedly differs from that of the Primates, it must be borne in mind that the placenta of the Primates may easily be conceived to be derived from a Lemurian form of placenta. It will be remembered that in Man, before the true placenta becomes developed, there is a condition with simple vascular villi scattered over the chorion. It seems very probable that this is a repetition of the condition of the placenta of the ancestors of the Primates which has probably been more or less retained by the Lemurs. It was mentioned above that the resemblance between the metadiscoidal placenta of Man and that of the Cheiroptera, Insectivora and Rodentia is rather physiological than morphological.

Comparative histology of the Placenta

It does not fall within the province of this work to treat from a histological standpoint the changes which take place in the uterine walls during pregnancy. It will, however, be convenient to place before the reader a short statement of the relations between the maternal and fetal tissues in the different varieties of placenta. This subject has been admirably dealt with by Turner (No. 222), from whose paper fig. 161 illustrating this subject is taken.

The simplest known condition of the placenta is that found in the pig (B). The papilla-like fcetal villi fit into the maternal crypts. The villi (v) are formed of a connective tissue cone with capillaries, and are covered by a layer of very flat epithelium (e) derived from the subzonal membrane. The maternal crypts are lined by the uterine epithelium (e'\ immediately below which is a capillary flexus. The maternal and fcetal vessels are here separated by a double epithelial layer. The same general arrangement holds good in the diffused placentae of other forms, and in the polycotyledonary placenta of the Ruminantia, but the fcetal villi (C) in the latter acquire an arborescent form. The maternal vessels retain the form of capillaries.

In the deciduate placenta a considerably more complicated arrangement is usually found. In the typical zonary placenta of the fox and cat (D and E), the maternal tissue is broken up into a complete trabecular meshwork, and in the interior of the trabeculae there run dilated maternal capillaries (</). The trabeculae are covered by a more or less columnar uterine epithelium (<?'), and are in contact on every side with fcetal villi. The capillaries of the fcetal villi preserve their normal size, and the villi are covered by a flat epithelial layer (e).

In the sloth (F) the maternal capillaries become still more dilated, and the epithelium covering them is formed of very flat polygonal cells.

In the human placenta (G), as in that of Apes, the greatest modification is found in that the maternal vessels have completely lost their capillary form, and have become expanded into large freely communicating sinuses (d'). In these sinuses the fcetal villi hang for the most part freely, though occasionally attached to their walls (/). In the late stages of fcetal life there is only one epithelial layer (/) between the maternal and fcetal vessels, which closely invests the fcetal villi, but, as shewn by Turner and Ercolani, is part of the uterine tissue. In the fcetal villi the vessels retain their capillary form.


F. the foetal ; M. the maternal placenta ; e. epithelium of chorion ; ^. epithelium of maternal placenta; d. fcetal blood-vessels; d'. maternal blood-vessels; v. villus.

A. Placenta in its most generalized form.

B. Structure of placenta of a Pig.

C. Structure of placenta of a Cow.

D. Structure of placenta of a Fox.

E. Structure of placenta of a Cat.

F. Structure of placenta of a Sloth. On the right side of the figure the flat maternal epithelial cells are shewn in situ. On the left side they are removed, and the dilated maternal vessel with its blood-corpuscles is exposed.

G. Structure of Human placenta. In addition to the letters already referred to ds, ds. represents the decidua serotina of the placenta; /, t. trabeculse of serotina passing to the foetal villi; ca. curling artery ; up. utero-placental vein; x. a prolongation of maternal tissue on the exterior of the villus outside the cellular layer e', which may represent either the endothelium of the maternal blood-vessel or delicate connective tissue belonging to the serotina, or both. The layer e' represents maternal cells derived from the serotina. The layer of fcetal epithelium cannot be seen on the villi of the fully-formed human placenta.

Evolution of the Placenta

From Owen's observations on the Marsupials it is clear that the yolk-sack in this group plays an important, if not the most important part, in absorbing the maternal nutriment destined for the foetus. The fact that in Marsupials both the yolk-sack and the allantois are functional in rendering the chorion vascular makes it d priori probable that this was also the case in the primitive types of the Placentalia, and this deduction is supported by the fact that in the Rodentia, Insectivora and Cheiroptera this peculiarity of the fcetal membranes is actually found. In the primitive Placentalia there was probably present a discoidal allantoic region of the chorion, from which simple fcetal villi, like those of the pig (fig. 161 B), projected into uterine crypts ; but it is not certain how far the umbilical part of the chorion, which was no doubt vascular, may also have been villous. From such a primitive type of foetal membranes divergences in various directions have given rise to the types of foetal membranes now existing.

In a general way it may be laid down that variations in any direction which tended to increase the absorbing capacities of the chorion would be advantageous. There are two obvious ways in which this might be done, viz. (i) by increasing the complexity of the fcetal villi and maternal crypts over a limited area, (2) by increasing the area of the part of the chorion covered by placental villi. Various combinations of the two processes would also of course be advantageous.

The most fundamental change which has taken place in all the existing Placentalia is the exclusion of the umbilical vesicle from any important function in the nutrition of the fcetus.

The arrangement of the fcetal parts in the Rodentia, Insectivora and Cheiroptera may be directly derived from the primitive form by supposing the villi of the discoidal placental area to have become more complex, so as to form a deciduate discoidal placenta ; while the yolk-sack still plays a part, though physiologically an unimportant part, in rendering the chorion vascular.

In the Carnivora again we have to start from the discoidal placenta, as shewn by the fact that the allantoic region of the placenta is at first discoidal (p. 248). A zonary deciduate placenta indicates an increase both in area and in complexity. The relative diminution of the breadth of the placental zone in late fcetal life in the zonary placenta of the Carnivora is probably due to its being on the whole advantageous to secure the nutrition of the fcetus by insuring a more intimate relation between the fcetal and maternal parts, than by increasing their area of contact. The reason of this is not obvious, but as mentioned below, there are other cases where it can be shewn that a diminution in the area of the placenta has taken place, accompanied by an increase in the complexity of its villi.

The second type of differentiation from the primitive form of discoidal placenta is illustrated by the Lemuridae, the Suidae, and Manis. In all these cases the area of the placental villi appears to have increased so as to cover nearly the whole subzonal membrane, without the villi increasing to any great extent in complexity. From the diffused placenta covering the whole surface of the chorion, differentiations appear to have taken place in various directions. The metadiscoidal placenta of Man and Apes, from its mode of ontogeny (p. 248), is clearly derived from a diffused placenta very probably similar to that of Lemurs by a concentration of the foetal villi, which are originally spread over the whole chorion, to a disc-shaped area, and by an increase in their arborescence.

The polycotyledonary forms of placenta are due to similar concentrations of the foetal villi of an originally diffused placenta.

In the Edentata we have a group with very varying types of placenta. Very probably these may all be differentiations within the group itself from a diffused placenta, such as that found in Manis. The zonary placenta of Orycteropus is capable of being easily derived from that of Manis, by the disappearance of the fcetal villi at the two poles of the ovum. The small size of the umbilical vesicle in Orycteropus indicates that its discoidal placenta is not, like that in Carnivora, directly derived from a type with both allantoic and umbilical vascularization of the chorion. The discoidal and dome-shaped placentae of the Armadilloes, Myrmecophaga, and the Sloths may easily have been formed from a diffused placenta, just as the discoidal placenta of the Simiadae and Anthropidse appears to have been formed from a diffused placenta like that of the Lemuridae.

The presence of zonary placentae in Hyrax and Elephas does not necessarily afford any proof of affinity of these types with the Carnivora. A zonary placenta may quite easily be derived from a diffused placenta ; and the presence of two villous patches at the poles of the chorion in Elephas indicates that this was very probably the case with the placenta of this form.

Although it is clear from the above considerations that the placenta is capable of being used to some extent in classification, yet at the same time the striking resemblances which can exist between such essentially different forms of placenta, as for instance those of Man and the Rodentia, are likely to prevent it being employed, except in conjunction with other characters.

Special types of development.

The Guinea-pig, Cavia cobaya. Many years ago Bischoff (No. 176) shewed that the development of the guinea-pig was strikingly different from that of other Mammalia. His statements, which were at first received with some doubt, have been in the main fully confirmed by Hensen (No. 182) and Schafer (No. 190), but we are still as far as ever from explaining the mystery of the phenomenon.

The ovum, enclosed by the zona radiata, passes into the Fallopian tube and undergoes a segmentation which has not been studied with great detail. On the close of segmentation, about six days after impregnation, it assumes (Hensen) a vesicular form not unlike that of other Mammalia. To the inner side of one wall of this vesicle is attached a mass of granular cells similar to the hypoblastic mass in the blastodermic vesicle of the rabbit. The egg still lies freely in the uterus, and is invested by its zona radiata. The changes which next take place are in spite of Bischoff's, Reichert's (No. 188) and Hensen's observations still involved in great obscurity. It is certain, however, that during the course of the seventh day a ring-like thickening of the uterine mucous membrane, on the free side of the uterus, gives rise to a kind of diverticulum of the uterine cavity, in which the ovum becomes lodged. Opposite the diverticulum the mucous membrane of the mesometric side of the uterus also becomes thickened, and this thickening very soon (shortly after the seventh day) unites with the wall of the diverticulum, and completely shuts off the ovum in a closed capsule.

The history of the ovum during the earlier period of its inclusion in the diverticulum of the uterine wall is not satisfactorily elucidated. There appears in the diverticulum during the eighth and succeeding days a cylindrical body, one end of which is attached to the uterine walls at the mouth of the diverticulum. The opposite end of the cylinder is free, and contains a solid body.

With reference to the nature of this cylinder two views have been put forward. Reichert and Hensen regard it as an outgrowth of the uterine wall, while the body within its free apex is regarded as the ovum. Bischoff and Schafer maintain that the cylinder itself is the ovum attached to the uterine wall. The observations of the latter authors, and especially those of Schafer, appear to me to speak for the correctness of their view 1 .

The cylinder gradually elongates up to the twelfth day. Before this period it becomes attached by its base to the mesometric thickening of the uterus, and enters into vascular connection with it. During its elongation it becomes hollow, and is filled with a fluid not coagulable in alcohol, while the body within its apex remains unaltered till the tenth day.

1 Schiifcr's and Hensen's statements are in more or less direct contradiction as to the structure of the ovum after the formation of the embryo; and it is not possible to decide between the two views about the ovum till these points of difference have been cleared up.

On this day a cavity develops in the interior of this body which at the same time enlarges itself. The greater part of its wall next attaches itself to the free end of the cylinder, and becomes considerably thickened. The


e. epiblast ; h. hypoblast ; in', amniotic mesoblast ; in" . splanchnic mesoblast ; am. amnion ; ev. cavity of amnion ; all. allantois ; f. rudimentary blastopore ; me. cavity of vesicle continuous with body cavity; mm. mucous membrane of uterus; m'm'. parts where vascular uterine tissue perforates hypoblast of blastodermic vesicle ; vt. uterine vascular tissue ; /. limits of uterine tissue.

remainder of the wall adjoining the cavity of the cylinder becomes a comparatively thin membrane. At the free end of the cylinder there appears on the thirteenth day an embryonic area similar to that of other Mammalia. It is at first round but soon becomes pyriform, and in it there appear a primitive streak and groove ; and on their appearance it becomes obvious that the outer layer of the cylinder is the hypoblast^, instead of, as in all other Mammalia, the epiblast ; and that the epiblast is formed by the wall of the inner vesicle, i.e. the original solid body placed at the end of the cylinder. Thus the dorsal surface of the embryo is turned inwards, and the ventral surface outwards, and the ordinary position of the layers is completely inverted.

1 According to Hensen the hypoblast grows round the inside of the wall of the cylinder from the body which he regards as the ovum. The original wall of the cylinder persists as a very thin layer separated from the hypoblast by a membrane.

The previously cylindrical egg next assumes a spherical form, and the mesoblast arises in connection with the primitive streak in the manner already described. A splanchnic layer of mesoblast attaches itself to the inner side of the outer hypoblastic wall of the egg, a somatic layer to the epiblast of the inner vesicle, and a mass of mesoblast grows out into the cavity of the larger vesicle forming the commencement of the allantois. The general structure of the ovum at this stage is represented on fig. 162, copied from Schafer ; and the condition of the whole ovum will best be understood by a description of this figure.

It is seen to consist of two vesicles, (i) an outer larger one (h] the original egg-cylinder united to the mesometric wall of the uterus by n vascular connection at ;';', and (2) an inner smaller one (ev) the originally solid body at the free end of the egg-cylinder. The outer vesicle is formed of (i) an external lining of columnar hypoblast (h) which is either pierced or invaginated at the area of vascular connection with the uterus, and (2) of an inner layer of splanchnic mesoblast (in"} which covers without a break the vascular uterine growth. At the upper pole of the ovum is placed the smaller epiblastic vesicle, and where the two vesicles come together is situated the embryonic area with the primitive streak (_/), and the medullary plate seen in longitudinal section. The thinner wall of the inner vesicle is formed of epiblast and somatic mesoblast, and covers over the dorsal face of the embryo just like the amnion. It is in fact usually spoken of as the amnion. The large cavity of the outer vesicle is continuous with the body cavity, and into it projects the solid mesoblastic allantois (//), so far without hypoblast 1 .

The outer vesicle corresponds exactly with the yolk-sack, and its mesoblastic layer receives the ordinary vascular supply.

The embryo becomes folded off from the yolk-sack in the usual way, but comes to lie not outside it as in the ordinary form, but in its interior, and is connected with it by an umbilical stalk. The yolk-sack forms the substitute for part of the subzonal membrane of other Mammalia. The so-called amnion appears to me from its development and position rather to correspond with the non-embryonic part of the epiblastic wall (true subzonal membrane) of the blastodermic vesicle of the ordinary mammalian forms than with the true amnion ; and a true amnion would seem not to be developed.

The allantois meets the yolk-sack on about the seventeenth day at the region of its vascular connection with the uterine wall, and gives rise to the placenta. A diagrammatic representation of the structure of the embryo at this stage is given in fig. 163.

The peculiar inversion of the layers in the Guinea-pig has naturally excited the curiosity of embryologists, but as yet no satisfactory explanation has been offered of it.

1 Hensen states that the hypoblast never grows into the allantois; while Bischoff, though not very precise on the point, implies that it does ; he states however that it soon disappears.

At the time when the ovum first becomes fixed it will be remembered that it resembles the early blastodermic vesicle of the Rabbit, and it is natural to suppose that the apparently hypoblastic mass attached to the inner wall of the vesicle becomes the solid body at the end of the egg-cylinder. This appears to be Bischoff's view, but, as shewn above, the solid mass is really the epiblast ! Is it conceivable that the hypoblast in one species becomes the epiblast in a closely allied species? To my mind it is not conceivable, and I am reduced to the hypothesis, put forward by Hensen, that in the course of the attachment of the ovum to the wall of the uterus a rupture of walls of the blastodermic vesicle takes place, and that they become completely turned inside out. It must be admitted, however, that in the present state of our knowledge of the development of the ovum on the seventh and eighth

days it is not possible to frame a satisfactory explanation how such an inversion can take place.

The Human Embryo. Our knowledge as to the early development of the human embryo is in an unsatisfactory state. The positive facts we know are comparatively few, and it is not possible to construct from them a history of the development which is capable of satisfactory comparison with that in other forms, unless all the early embryos known are to be regarded as abnormal. The most remarkable feature in the development, which was first clearly brought to light by Allen Thomson in 1839, is the very early appearance of branched villi. In the last few years several ova, even younger than those described by Allen Thomson, have been met with, which exhibit this peculiarity.

The best-preserved of these ova is one described by Reichert (No. 237). This ovum, though probably not more than thirteen days old, was completely enclosed by a decidua reflexa. It had (fig. 164 A and B) a flattened oval form, measuring in its two diameters 5*5 mm. and 3-5 mm. The edge was covered with branched villi, while in the centre of each of the flattened surfaces there was a spot free from villi. On the surface adjoining the uterine wall was a darker area (e) formed of two layers of cells, which is interpreted by Reichert as the embryonic area, while the membrane forming the remainder of the ovum, including the branched villi, was stated by Reichert to be composed of a single row of epithelial cells.


yk. inverted yolk-sack (umbilical vesicle) formed of an external hypoblastic layer (shaded) and an internal vascular layer (black). At the end of this layer is placed the sinus terminalis ; all. allantois ; //. placenta.

The external shaded parts are the uterine walls.

Whether or no Reichert is correct in identifying his darker spot as the embryonic area, it is fairly certain from the later observations of Beigel and Lowe (No. 228), Ahlfeld (No. 227), and Kollmann (No. 234) on ova nearly as young as that of Reichert, that the wall of very young ova has a more complicated structure than Reichert is willing to admit. These authors do not however agree amongst themselves, but from Kollmann's description, which appears to me the most satisfactory, it is probable that it is composed of an outer epithelial layer, and an inner layer of connective tissue, and that the connective tissue extends at a very early period into the villi ; so that the latter are not hollow, as Reichert supposed them to be.


A. and B. Front and side view of an ovum figured by Reichert, supposed to be about thirteen days. e. embryonic area.

C. An ovum of about four or five weeks shewing the general structure of the ovum before the formation of the placenta. Part of the wall of the ovum is removed to shew the embryo in situ, (After Allen Thomson.)

The villi, which at first leave the flattened poles free, seem soon to extend first over one of the flat sides, and finally over the whole ovum (fig. 164 C).

Unless the two-layered region of Reichert's ovum is the embryonic area, nothing which can clearly be identified as an embryo has been detected in these early ova. In an ovum described by Breus (No. 228), and in one described long ago by Wharton- Jones a mass found in the interior of the egg may perhaps be interpreted (His) as the remains of the yolk. It is, however, very probable that all the early ova so far discovered are more or less pathological.

The youngest ovum with a distinct embryo is one described by His (No. 232). This ovum, which is diagrammatically represented in fig. 168 in longitudinal section, had the form of an oval vesicle completely covered by villi, and about 8'5 mm. and $'5 mm. in its two diameters, and flatter on one side than on the other. An embryo with a yolk-sack was attached to the inner side of the flatter wall of the vesicle by a stalk, which must be regarded as the allantoic stalk 1 , and the embryo and yolk-sack filled up but a very small part of the whole cavity of the vesicle.

The embryo, which was probably not quite normal (fig. 165 A), was very imperfectly developed ; a medullary plate was hardly indicated, and,

FIG. 165. THREE EARLY HUMAN EMBRYOS. (Copied from His.) An early embryo described by His from the side. am. amnion; urn. umbilical ch. chorion, to which the embryo is attached by a stalk. Embryo described by Allen Thomson about 12 14 days. um. umbilical umbilical vesicle.

A. vesicle

B. vesicle ; md. medullary groove.

C. Young embryo described by His.

though the mesoblast was unsegmented, the head fold, separating the embryo from the yolk-sack (#;#), was already indicated. The amnion (am] was completely formed, and vitelline vessels had made their appearance.

Two embryos described by Allen Thomson (No. 239) are but slightly older than the above embryos of His. Both of them probably belong to the first fortnight of pregnancy. In both cases the embryo was more or less folded off from the yolk-sack, and in one of them the medullary groove was still widely open, except in the region of the neck (fig. 165 B). The allantoic stalk, if present, was not clearly made out, and the condition of the amnion was also not fully studied. The smaller of the two ova was just 6 mm. in its largest diameter, and was nearly completely covered with simple villi, more developed on one side than on the other.

1 Allen Thomson informs me that he is very confident that such a form of attachment between the hind end of the embryo and the wall of the vesicle, as that described and figured by His in this embryo, did not exist in any of the younger embryos examined by him.

In a somewhat later period, about the stage of a chick at the end of the second day, the medullary folds are completely closed, the region of the brain already marked, and the cranial flexure commencing. The mesoblast is divided up into numerous somites, and the mandibular and first two branchial arches are indicated. The embryo is still but incompletely folded off from the yolk-sack below.

In a still older stage the cranial flexure becomes still more pronounced, placing the mid-brain at the end of the long axis of the body. The body also begins to be ventrally curved (fig. 165 C).

Externally human embryos at this age are characterised by the small size of the anterior end of the head.

The flexure goes on gradually increasing, and in the third week of pregnancy in embryos of about 4 mm. the limbs make their appearance. The embryo at this stage (fig. 166), which is about equivalent to that of a chick on the fourth day, resembles in almost every respect the normal embryos of the Amniota. The cranial flexure is as pronounced as usual, and the cerebral region has now fully the normal size. The whole body soon becomes flexed ventrally, and also somewhat spirally. The yolksack (b} forms a small spherical appendage with a long wide stalk, and the embryo (B) is attached by an allantoic stalk with a slight swelling (all], probably indicating the presence of a small hypoblastic diverticulum, to the inner face of the chorion.


A. Side view. (From Kolliker; after Allen Thomson.) a. amnion; b. umbilical vesicle; c, mandibular arch; e. hyoid arch ; f. commencing anterior limb; g. primitive auditory vesicle; h. eye; i. heart.

B. Dorsal view to shew the attachment of the dilated allantoic stalk to the chorion. (From a sketch by Allen Thomson.) am- amnion; all. allantois; ys. yolksack.

A remarkable exception to the embryos generally observed is afforded by an embryo which has been described by Krause (No. 235). In this embryo, which probably belongs to the third week of pregnancy, the limbs were just commencing to be indicated, and the embryo was completely covered by an amnion, but instead of being attached to the chorion by an allantoic cord, it was quite free, and was provided with a small spherical sack-like allantois, very similar to that of a fourth-day chick, projected from its hind end.


A. Head of an embryo of about four weeks. (After Allen Thomson.)

B. Head of an embryo of about six weeks. (After Ecker.)

C. Head of an embryo of about nine weeks.

i. mandibular arch; i'. persistent part of hyomandibular cleft; a. auditory vesicle.

No details are given as to the structure of the chorion or the presence of villi upon it. The presence of such an allantois at this stage in a human embryo is so unlike what is usually found that Krause's statements have been received with considerable scepticism. His even holds that the embryo is a chick embryo, and not a human one ; while Kolliker regards Krause's allantois as a pathological structure. The significance to be attached to this embryo is dealt with below.

A detailed history of the further development of the human embryo does not fall within the province of this work ; while the later changes in the embryonic membranes have already been dealt with (pp. 244 248).

For the changes which take place on the formation of the face I may refer the reader to fig. 167.

The most obscure point connected with the early history of the human ovum concerns the first formation of the allantois, and the nature of the villi covering the surface of the ovum. The villi, if really formed of mesoblast covered by epiblast, have the true structure of chorionic villi ; and can hardly be compared to the early villi of the dog which are derived from the subzonal membrane, and still less to those of the rabbit formed from the zona radiata.

Unless all the early ova so far described are pathological, it seems to follow that the mesoblast of the chorion is formed before the embryo is definitely established, and even if the pathological character of these ova is admitted, it is nevertheless probable (leaving Krause's embryo out of account), as shewn by the early embryos of Allen Thomson and His, that it is formed before the closure of the medullary groove. In order to meet this difficulty His supposes that the embryo never separates from the blastodermic vesicle, but that the allantoic stalk of the youngest embryo (fig. 168) represents the persistent attachment between the two 1 . His' view has a good deal to be said for it. I would venture, however, to suggest that Reichert's embryonic area is probably not in the twolayered stage, but that a mesoblast has already become established, and that it has grown round the inner face of the FlG> l68> DIAGRAMMATIC LONGIblastodermic vesicle from the (apparent) TUDINAL SECTION OF THE OVUM TO posterior end of the primitive streak, formation of the mesoblast of the allantois an exaggeration of the early formation of the allantoic mesoblast which is characteristic of the Guinea-pig (vide p. 264). This mesoblast, together with the epiblast, forms a true chorion, so that in fig. 168, and probably also in fig. 164 A and B, a true chorion has already become established. The stalk connecting the embryo with the chorion in His' earliest embryo (fig. 168) is therefore a true allantoic stalk into which the hypoblastic allantoic diverticulum grows in for some distance. How the yolk-sack (umbilical vesicle) is formed is not clear. Perhaps, as suggested by His, it arises from the conversion of a solid mass of primitive hypoblast directly into a yolk-sack. The amnion is probably formed as a fold over the head end of the embryo in the manner indicated in His' diagram (fig. 168 Am}.

This growth I regard as a frecoci^ ^ amnion . A,. um hilical vesicle.

These speculations have so far left Krause's embryo out of account. How is this embryo to be treated ? Krause maintains that all the other embryos shewing an allantoic stalk at an early age are pathological. This, though not impossible, appears to me, to say the least of it, improbable ; especially when it is borne in mind that embryos, which have every appearance of being normal, of about the same age and younger than Krause's, have been frequently observed, and have always been found attached to the chorion by an allantoic stalk.

We are thus provisionally reduced to suppose either that the structure figured by Krause is not the allantois, or that it is a very abnormal allantois. It is perhaps just possible that it maybe an abnormally developed hypoblastic vesicle of the allantois artificially detached from the mesoblastic layer, the latter having given rise to the chorion at an earlier date.

1 For a fuller explanation of His' views I must refer the reader to his Memoir (No. j:V2), pp. 170. 171, and to the diagrams contained in it.



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(238) Allen Thomson. "Contributions to the history of the structure of the human ovum and embryo before the third week after conception ; with a description of some early ova." Edinburgh Med. Surg. Journal, Vol. Lll. 1839.