Carnegie stage 17

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Stage17 bf1c.jpg


Week 6, 42 - 44 days, 11 - 14 mm

Gestational Age GA week 8


  • Ectoderm: sensory placodes, lens pit, otocyst,nasal pits moved ventrally, fourth ventricle of brain
  • Mesoderm: heart prominence
  • Head: 1st, 2nd and 3rd pharyngeal arch, forebrain, eye, auricular hillocks
  • Body: heart, liver, umbilical cord, mesonephric ridge
  • Limb: upper and lower limb buds, hand digital rays

See also Carnegie stage 17 Events


  • pigmented eye, nasal pit, nasolacrimal groove, external acoustic meatus, auricular hillock, heart, digital rays, liver pronminance, thigh, ankle, foot plate, umbilical cord
  • Identify: pigmented eye, nasal pit, nasolacrimal groove, external acoustic meatus, auricular hillock, heart, digital rays, liver prominence, thigh, ankle, foot plate, umbilical cord

Stage 17 Links: Week 6 | System Development | Head | Lecture - Limb | Lecture - Head Development | Lecture - Sensory | Science Practical - Head | Science Practical - Sensory | Science Practical - Urogenital | Carnegie Embryos | Madrid Embryos | Category:Carnegie Stage 17 | Next Stage 18
  Historic Papers: 1926 Precervical Sinus | 1948 stage 15-18

Week: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Carnegie stage: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Carnegie Stages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | About Stages | Timeline

Kyoto Collection

Stage17 bf1.jpg

View: This is a left lateral view of embryo. Amniotic membrane removed.

Human stage17 face 01.jpg

Ventral view of head region (1 mm scale).

Right lateral view of embryo enclosed in chorionic sac. scale bar 5 mm.

Kyoto16834 stage17-umbilicus.jpg

Kyoto embryo (16834) showing detail of umbilicus Carnegie stage 17 (1 mm scale bar)

MRI Stage 17 movie 1 icon.jpg
 ‎‎MRI Stage 17
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This is a MRI off-axis sagittal (not in at the exact anatomical plane) section through the week 6 embryo

Image source: The Kyoto Collection images are reproduced with the permission of Prof. Kohei Shiota and Prof. Shigehito Yamada, Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan for educational purposes only and cannot be reproduced electronically or in writing without permission.

Carnegie Collection

Stage17 bf6.jpg Stage17 bf7.jpg Stage17 bf8.jpg Stage17 bf9.jpg

Stage17 bf2.jpg Stage17 bf3.jpg Stage17 bf4.jpg Stage17 bf5.jpg

Carnegie stage 17: Right | Anterior | Posterior | Left | Right | Anterior | Posterior | Left

Carnegie Collection Embryos - Stage 17 
Serial No. Size (mm) Grade Fixative Embedding Medium Plane Thinness (µm) Stain Year Notes
353 E, 11.0 Ch., 40x35x20 Good Formalin P Coronal 10 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) 1906 Very advanced
485 E, 13.0 Ch., 33x25 Exc. Formalin P Coronal 40 Al. coch. 1911 Injected (India ink)
544 E., 11.5 Ch., 30 Good Zenker-Formol P Sagittal 40 Al. coch. 1911 Operative Injected (India ink)
562 E, 13.0 Ch., 28x17x17 Poor Formalin P Sagittal 100 Al. coch. 1912 Advanced
623 E 10.1 Good Alc. P Transverse 20 H. & Congo red 1912 Operative. Median in group
695 E, 13.5 Ch., 40x40x17 Poor Formalin P Transverse 10 H. & Congo red 1913 Macerated
916 E, 11.0 Ch, 30x30x16 Good Bouin C Transverse 40 H.&E, or. G. 1915 Most-advanced third
940 E, 14.0 Ch, 28x23x21 Good Formalin C Transverse 40 H.&E, or. G. 1914 Advanced
1232 E, 14.5 Ch., 35x35x30 Poor Formalin P Coronal 40 Al. coch. 1915 Close to No.1267A
1267A E-a 145 Ch., 35x30x26 40 Good Formalin C Sagittal 20 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin). or. G 1915 Excellent CN.S.
1267B ?? E, 125 Good Formalin p Sagittal 20 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) 1917 Tubal
5642 E, 11.5 Ch.. 33x30x17 Good Formalin p Transverse 15 Al. coch. 1928 Right upper limb injured
5893 E.. 13.2 Good Formalin C-P Transverse 20 Al. coch. 1929 Most advanced in group
6258 E. 14.0 Ch 48x35x25 Good Formalin C-P Transverse 10 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) 1930 Median in group
6519 E.. 10.8* Exc Corrov acetic C-P Sagittal 8 Al. coch. ? Least-advanced or middle third
6520 E., 14.2* Exc. Corros. acetic C-P Transverse 10 Al. coch. P Median in group. Ag added to slides 1-25
6521 E., 13.2* Exc. Corros. acetic C-P Transverse 8-18 Al. coch. ? Sections vary in thinness
6631 E., 13.0 Good Formalin C-P Coronal 10 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) 1932 Tubal. Advanced
6742 E, 11.0 Ch.,50x40x15 Good Formalin C-P Transverse 12 H. & phlox. 1933 Good primary germ cells
6758 E., 12.8 Good Formalin C-P Transverse 10 H. & phlox. 1933 Least—advanced third
7317 E, 10.0* Good P Coronal 10 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) 1936 His embryo “Ru." Every third section
7436 E., 13.0 Good Formalin C-P Coronal 30 Al. coch. 1937 Most-advanced third
8101 E., 13.0 Exc. Bouin C-P Transverse 10 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) 1943 Operative
8118 E., 12.6 Exc. Bouin C-P Coronal 10 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) 1943 Middle third
8253 E., 11.2 Ch.,30x20x10 Good Bouin C-P Coronal 10 Al. coch., phlox. 1944 Operative. Least advanced in group
8789 E., 11.7 Exc. Bouin C-P Sagittal 10 Azan 1950
8969 E., 11.2 Exc. ? p Transverse 15 Azan 1919 Univ. Chicago No. H566
8998 E., 11.0 Exc. ? C-P Coronal 10 Azan 1952
9100 E., 12.0 Ch., 12x13x10 Exc. Formol-chrom. subl. C-P Sagittal 10 Azan 1933 Univ. Chicago No. H1475
9282 E, 12.0 Ch., 16 Good Ale. p Transverse 15 Ag 1955 Mislaid
  • Size - E. is the greatest length of the embryo and Ch. is the mean diameter of the chorion.
  • Grade - total grade of the specimen and includes both its original quality and the condition of the mounted sections.
  • Embedding medium - paraffin (P) or a combination of celloidin and paraffin (C-P).
  • Fixative - formalin (Formol), alcohol and formalin (Alc, formol), Bouin (Bouin solution)
  • Stain -
  • ? - unknown or not determined.
iBook - Carnegie Embryos  
link= iTunes link
  • iTunes link | iBook Store
  • Description - Imagine the excitement of seeing this incredible early period of human development for the first time. Now consider that much of our initial understanding of human development is based upon study of historic embryo collections. You can now look at these historic images of the first 8 weeks after fertilisation and explore for yourself the changes that occur in human development during this key period. This current book is designed as an atlas of the Carnegie embryo stages with some brief notes and additional information covering the first 8 weeks of development. These images are from from the beginning of last century and are one of the earliest documented series of human embryos collected for basic research and medical education on development. I hope you enjoy learning about the amazing early events that begin to make and shape us. This is the second book in a series of educational releases from UNSW Embryology.
  • Release: First Edition - Mar 12, 2012 ISBN 978-0-7334-3148-7 Print Length 82 Pages, 25.8 MB Language English.
  • PDF Preview version 3.87 MB (Read the associated information, this is an edited educational preview version with many features not functioning).
  • The current website also includes numerous embryo images from this textbook (see Embryonic Development and Carnegie Embryos).

Blechschmidt Collection

Embryo 10mm surface icon.jpg
 ‎‎Embryo 10mm
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Model from serial section reconstruction.

Image source: The Blechschmidt Collection images are reproduced with the permission of Prof. Christoph Viebahn, director of the Institute of Anatomy and Embryology, , University Medical Center Göttingen. Images are for educational purposes only and cannot be reproduced electronically or in writing without permission.

Hill Collection

Hill H58
HillH58 Stage 17 bf01.jpg HillH58 Stage 17 bf02.jpg
left dorsolateral left lateral
Hill H202
HillH202 Stage 17 bf02.jpg HillH202 Stage 17 bf01.jpg

Embryo Virtual Slide

Stage 17 - Left Lateral

HillH202 Stage 17 bf01.jpg

 ‎‎Mobile | Desktop | Original

Stage 17 | Embryo Slides
Stage 17 - Ventral View

HillH202 Stage 17 bf02.jpg

 ‎‎Mobile | Desktop | Original

Stage 17 | Embryo Slides

Image source: The images from the Hill Collection (part of the Embryological Collection) are reproduced with the permission of the Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity. Images are for educational purposes only and must not be reproduced electronically or in writing without permission from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

Hinrichsen Collection

ME16 001.jpg Hinrichsen collection Human Embryo ME16 (stage17).

Note the developing mandible and maxilla in this ventrolateral view of the head.

The developing maxilla in this ventral view of the nasal opening. ME16 002.jpg

Image source: The Hinrichsen Collection images are reproduced with the permission of Prof. Beate Brand-Saberi, Head, Department of Anatomy and Molecular Embryology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Images are for educational purposes only and cannot be reproduced electronically or in writing without permission.

Madrid Collection

Madrid Collection Embryos  
Embryo Days CRL (mm) Section
Staining Section plane
17 CN 4 41 11 10 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) transverse
17 J1 41 11.5 10 Bielschowsky (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) frontal
17 MAR 4 42 12 10 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) transverse
17 VE-4 43 12.5 10 (Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin) transverse

Scanning EM

Stage17 em02.jpg Stage17 em12.jpg
Ventral view of head showing upper lip, maxilla and nasal region. Note that a ventral image of only half the head has been "mirrored" to generate this image.

Image Source: Prof Virginia Diewert



MRI Stage 17 movie 1 icon.jpg
 ‎‎MRI Stage 17
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Human embryo tomography Carnegie stage 17.jpg
 ‎‎Stage 17 Embryo
Page | Play

Optical projection tomography movie of rotating stage 17 embryo.

Note the detailed structural view of neural system development.

Carnegie stage 17 OPT.jpg

Stage 17 Optical Projection Tomography (left)

Human embryo tomography Carnegie stage 17.jpg

Stage 17 Optical Projection Tomography (right)

Links: Movies

Other Specimens

Volcher R. Le systeme nerveux pe'riphe'rique cninien d'un embryon humain de 12 mm. (1959) Arch. Biol. (Liege), 70:179-215. describes the peripheral nervous system.

Hendrix MJ Brailey JL and Shenker L. SEM-dissection of a human embryo derived from an ectopic pregnancy. (1985) Early Hum Dev. 11(1): 61-8. PMID 4006825


  • neural
    • telencephalon areas of the future archicortex, paleocortex, and neocortex, visible. Beginning of future choroid plexus[1]
    • primordium of the epidural space appears first on the ventral part of the vertebral canal and develops rostro-caudally[2]
  • hearing - otic capsule now dense mesenchyme. Otic vesicle elongated along the dorso-ventral axis and differentiated into the end lymphatic appendage and cochlear duct.[3] Otic vesicle vestibular part wall thins prior to semicircular duct appearing. Geniculate ganglion forms. Auditory ossicles, tubotympanic recess and chorda tympani appear. First pharyngeal groove (cleft or hyomandibular groove) begins to form the concha and the external acoustic meatus. Six auricular hillocks present (1 tragus, 2 and 3 crus helicis, 4 and 5 helix, and 6 antitragus).
  • smell olfactory nerve fibres enter the brain[4] The olfactory nerve is organized into two plexuses, lateral and medial, the latter mingled with the terminal-vomeronasal complex.[5] Stages Description | primitive olfactory bulb
  • Vision - Retinal pigment is visible and the retinal fissure is largely closed. Eyelids grooves deepen, eyelid folds develop, first below, and then above, the eye.[6]
  • eyelid sulcus (groove) above and below eye deepen and eyelid folds develop (below first and then above)[6]
  • diaphragm - pleuroperitoneal fold (PPF) no longer separated from the diaphragm (CRL 14mm)[7]
  • Abdominal Wall muscle cells now migrated approximately 50% of the distance to the ventral midline, inner and outer layers were not discernible yet.[8]
  • cardiovascular
  • endocrine[10]
    • Hypophysis - juxtacerebral wall of the craniopharyngeal pouch is the thicker. The lateral lobes (future infundibular, or tuberal, part) and the anterior chamber (Vorraum) are clearly visible (O'Rahilly 1973 a). The infundibular recess displays a characteristically folded wall, namely the neurohypophysis (O'Rahilly 1973 a).
    • thymus - connection of the thymus with the pharynx has been severed (Weller 1933). The thymus is intimately approximated to the cervical duct (ibid.) According to Norris (1937), both third and fourth pouches make contact with the ectoderm, although only the third "receives an increment from the ectoderm".
    • parathyroid - parathyroid 4 is attached to the lateral surface of what Weller (1933) termed the "lateral thyroid component"
    • thyroid The lobes of the thyroid curve around the carotid arteries and are connected by a delicate isthmus. Lacunae "should not be confused with lumina of follicles" (Weller 1933).
    • adrenal Cortex - dorsal part of the whole suprarenal primordium is disorganized by the invasion of sympathetic nerves and cells, while the band of C2 cells and the coelomic epithelium remain intact (Crowder 1957).
    • adrenal Medulla - first neural migration is at its height. Growth of the para-aortic complex is extensive. The plexiform complex is derived from paravertebral sympathetic ganglia T6-12 and usually L 1. Included in it are the primordia of the suprarenal medulla and of the celiac, superior mesenteric, and renal plexuses. Nerve fibres and "paraganglion" (M3) cells enter.
    • pancreas - ventral pancreas has now fused with dorsal (Streeter 1948). Perhaps the ventral and dorsal ducts have begun to blend (Russu and Vaida 1959).
  • meninges (spinal cord) - vertebral rudiments stand out more and more distinctly from the intermediate zone. Over the dorsal surface of the spinal cord the closure membrane is separating into a peripheral and denser body-wall portion and a deeper and looser portion. The latter becomes part of the meninx primitiva, and this can be identified everywhere about the cord. The meninx primitiva has broadened, and its cells are more scattered than in the previous age group. It is deepest ventral to the neural tube and in the lateral parts between adjacent ganglia. The ganglia have migrated so that their ventral tips lie at the level of origin of the ventral nerve root. The vascular channels now surround the spinal ganglia, and small vessels penetrate into the spinal cord. A frontal section through the ganglia shows extensions of the dense lateral concentrations of the vertebral canal, passing medially between each two adjacent ganglia to become continuous with the meninx adjacent to the cord. These extensions are the first indications of the denticulate ligaments of the pia mater. These primordia of the dentate processes are also observed in transverse sections, forming a cellular concentration between the ventralateral part of the neural tube and the ventral part of the neural arch rudiments.[11]
  • limb - neural the median nerve, the radial nerve, and the ulnar nerve enter into the hand plate.[12]


  1. Müller F & O'Rahilly R. (1989). The human brain at stage 17, including the appearance of the future olfactory bulb and the first amygdaloid nuclei. Anat. Embryol. , 180, 353-69. PMID: 2802187
  2. Patelska-Banaszewska M & Woźniak W. (2004). The development of the epidural space in human embryos. Folia Morphol. (Warsz) , 63, 273-9. PMID: 15478101
  3. Toyoda S, Shiraki N, Yamada S, Uwabe C, Imai H, Matsuda T, Yoneyama A, Takeda T & Takakuwa T. (2015). Morphogenesis of the inner ear at different stages of normal human development. Anat Rec (Hoboken) , 298, 2081-90. PMID: 26369281 DOI.
  4. Müller F & O'Rahilly R. (2004). Olfactory structures in staged human embryos. Cells Tissues Organs (Print) , 178, 93-116. PMID: 15604533 DOI.
  5. Bossy J. Development of olfactory and related structures in staged human embryos. (1980) Anat. Embryol., 161(2);225-36 PMID 7469043
  6. 6.0 6.1 Pearson AA. The development of the eyelids. Part I. External features. (1980) J. Anat.: 130(1): 33-42. PMID 7364662 PDF
  7. Clugston RD, Zhang W & Greer JJ. (2010). Early development of the primordial mammalian diaphragm and cellular mechanisms of nitrofen-induced congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Birth Defects Res. Part A Clin. Mol. Teratol. , 88, 15-24. PMID: 19711422 DOI.
  8. Nichol PF, Corliss RF, Yamada S, Shiota K & Saijoh Y. (2012). Muscle patterning in mouse and human abdominal wall development and omphalocele specimens of humans. Anat Rec (Hoboken) , 295, 2129-40. PMID: 22976993 DOI.
  9. Hutchins GM, Kessler-Hanna A & Moore GW. (1988). Development of the coronary arteries in the embryonic human heart. Circulation , 77, 1250-7. PMID: 3286038
  10. O'Rahilly R. The timing and sequence of events in the development of the human endocrine system during the embryonic period proper. (1983) Anat. Embryol., 166: 439-451. PMID 6869855
  11. Sensenig EC. The early development of the meninges of the spinal cord in human embryos. (1951) Contrib. Embryol., Carnegie Inst. Wash. Publ. 611.
  12. Shinohara H. Naora H. Hashimoto R. Hatta T. and Tanaka O. Development of the innervation pattern in the upper limb of staged human embryos. (1990) Acta Anat (Basel) 138: 265-269. PMID 2389673

Additional Images

Carnegie Stages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | About Stages | Timeline

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 22) Embryology Carnegie stage 17. Retrieved from

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