Ontogeny of the Fetal Membranes and Placenta

Their Bearing on Primate Phylogeny
  • W. Patrick Luckett


The mammalian placenta is usually defined as “an apposition or fusion of the fetal membranes to the uterine mucosa for physiological exchange” (Mossman, 1937), and this definition is equally true for the placenta established independently within several genera of reptiles. Mammalian placentation is initiated by the attachment of the blastocyst to the uterine endometrium and is terminated by the delivery of the newborn at the time of parturition. In spite of its relatively brief life-span during the ontogeny of the individual, the placenta is the most important and most physiologically complex organ during intrauterine development. During its life history it performs functions analogous to those of the lung, intestine, kidney, liver, and, in some species, it is involved in endocrine functions comparable to those of the pituitary and gonads.


Fetal Membrane Embryonic Disc Chorioallantoic Placenta Placental Disc Derive Character State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amoroso, E. C. 1952. Placentation, pp. 127–311. In A. S. Parkes, ed., Marshall’s Physiology of Reproduction, 3rd ed., Vol. II. Longmans, Green and Co., London.Google Scholar
  2. Bauchot, R. 1965. La placentation chez les reptiles. Ann. Biol. 4:547–575.Google Scholar
  3. Beer, G. de 1958. Embryos and Ancestors. Oxford University Press, London.Google Scholar
  4. Björkman, N. H., and W. A. Wimsatt. 1968. The allantoic placenta of the vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus murinus): A reinterpretation of its structure based on electron microscopic observations. Anat. Rec. 162:83–98.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Butler, H. 1967. The giant cell trophoblast of the Senegal galago (Galago senegalensis senegalensis) and its bearing on the evolution of the primate placenta. J. Zool. 152:195–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chez, R. A., J. J. Schlesselman, H. Salazar, and R. Fox. 1972. Single placentas in the rhesus monkey. J. Med. Primat. 1:230–240.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, W. E. Le Gros. 1971. The Antecedents of Man, 3rd ed. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  8. Enders, A. C., and W. A. Wimsatt. 1968. Formation and structure of the hemodichorial chorio-allantoic placenta of the bat (Myotis lucifugus lucifugus). Am. J. Anat. 122:453–490.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Farris, J. S. 1966. Estimation of conservatism of characters by constancy within biological populations. Evolution20:587–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Flynn, T. T., and J. P. Hill. 1939. The development of the Monotremata. Part IV. Growth of the ovarian ovum, maturation, fertilisation, and early cleavage. Trans. Zool. Soc. London24:445–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Flynn, T. T., and J. P. Hill. 1947. The development of the Monotremata. Part VI. The later stages of cleavage and the formation of the primary germ-layers. Trans. Zool. Soc. London26:1–151.Google Scholar
  12. Griffiths, M. 1968. Echidnas. Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  13. Grosser, O. 1909. Vergleichende Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte der Eihäute und der Placenta. Wilhelm Braumüller, Vienna.Google Scholar
  14. Hennig, W. 1966. Phylogenetic Systematics. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.Google Scholar
  15. Hill, J. P. 1910. The early development of Marsupialia, with special reference to the native cat (Dasyurus viverrinus). Quart. J. Microsc. Sci. 56:1–134.Google Scholar
  16. Hill, J. P. 1932. The developmental history of the primates. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc, Ser. B. 221:45–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hill, J. P. 1949. The allantoic placenta of Perameles. Proc. Linn. Soc. London161:3–7.Google Scholar
  18. Hill W. C. O. 1953. Primates, Vol. 1, Strepsirhini. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  19. Hubrecht, A. A. W. 1908. Early ontogenetic phenomena in mammals and their bearing on our interpretation of the phylogeny of the vertebrates. Quart. J. Microsc. Sci. 53:1–181.Google Scholar
  20. Lange, D. de. 1933. Plazentarbildung. Handb. Vergleich. Anat. Wirbelt. 6:155–234.Google Scholar
  21. Luckett, W. P. 1968. Morphogenesis of the placenta and fetal membranes of the tree shrews (family Tupaiidae). Am. J. Anat. 123:385–428.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Luckett, W. P. 1969. Evidence for the phylogenetic relationships of tree shrews (family Tupaiidae) based on the placenta and foetal membranes. J. Reprod. Fertil. Suppl. 6:419–433.Google Scholar
  23. Luckett, W. P. 1974. Comparative development and evolution of the placenta in primates, pp. 142–234. In W. P. Luckett, ed., Reproductive Biology of the Primates, Contributions to Primatology, Vol. 3. S. Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  24. Luckett, W. P. 1975. Causal relations in mammalian amniogenesis. Anat. Rec. 181:415.Google Scholar
  25. Martin, R. D. 1969. Evolution of reproductive mechanisms in primates. J. Reprod. Fertil. Suppl. 6:49–66.Google Scholar
  26. Mossman, H. W. 1937. Comparative morphogenesis of the fetal membranes and accessory uterine structures. Contrib. Embyrol. Carneg. Inst. 26:129–246.Google Scholar
  27. Mossman, H. W. 1953. The genital system and the fetal membranes as criteria for mammalian phylogeny and taxonomy. J. Mammal. 34:289–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mossman, H. W. 1967. Comparative biology of the placenta and fetal membranes, pp. 13–97. In R. M. Wynn, ed., Fetal Homeostasis, Vol. 2. New York Academy of Science, New York.Google Scholar
  29. Mossman, H. W. 1971. Orientation and site of attachment of the blastocyst, pp. 49–57. In R. J. Blandau, ed., The Biology of the Blastocyst. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  30. Padykula, H. A., and J. M. Taylor. 1974. Cytological observations on marsupial placentation: The Australian bandicoots (Perameles and Isoodon). Anat. Rec. 178:434.Google Scholar
  31. Pearson, J. 1949. Placentation of the Marsupialia. Proc. Linn. Soc. London161:1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Romer, A. S. 1967. Major steps in vertebrate evolution. Science158:1629–1637.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schaeffer, B., M. K. Hecht, and N. Eldridge. 1972. Phylogeny and paleontology, pp. 31–46. In T. Dobzhansky, M. K. Hecht, and W. C. Steere, eds., Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 6. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Sharman, G. B. 1961. The embryonic membranes and placentation in five genera of diprotodont marsupials. Proc. Zool. Soc. London137:197–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Simpson, G. G. 1961. Principles of Animal Taxonomy. Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  36. Starck, D. 1956. Primitiventwicklung und plazentation der Primaten, pp. 723–886. In H. Hofer, A. H. Schultz, and D. Starck, eds., Primatologia, Vol. 1. S. Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  37. Starck, D. 1959. Ontogenie und Entwicklungsphysiologie der Säugetiere. Handb. Zool. 8:1–276.Google Scholar
  38. Turner, W. 1877. Some general observations on the placenta, with especial reference to the theory of evolution. J. Anat. Physiol, 11:33–53.Google Scholar
  39. Tyndale-Biscoe, H. 1973. Life of Marsupials. Arnold, London.Google Scholar
  40. Wislocki, G. B. 1929. On the placentation of primates, with a consideration of the phylogeny of the placenta. Contrib. Embryol. Carneg. Inst. 20:51–80.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Patrick Luckett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, School of MedicineCreighton UniversityOmahaUSA

Personalised recommendations