Comparative Anatomy

  • Harland W. Mossman


In this brief consideration of some of the comparative aspects of the mammalian uterus, it is important to keep in mind that this organ develops from a pair of completely mesodermal tubes called, variously, müllerian, paramesonephric, or female ducts (see Nomina Embryologica August 1974 revision, International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee). The whole female internal genital system of eutherian (“placental”) mammals, excepting the vagina, is basically double—two ovaries, two oviducts, and two uteri. The vagina is completely paired in mono- tremes and marsupials, and has been reported to be partially divided by a longitudinal septum in the plains viscacha (Lagostomus) (Weir, 1971) and in the immature of some baleen whales, Mysticeti (Ohsumi, 1969); otherwise, it is single in Eutheria. In most mammals, the vagina is joined by the urethra. Together they open into a common tube, the definitive urogenital sinus, or vaginal vestibule, which connects both to the surface. Often this vestibule is nearly as long as the vagina proper. However, in woman it is represented by only the shallow space between the two labia minora.


Uterine Artery Comparative Anatomy Round Ligament Broad Ligament Cervical Canal 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harland W. Mossman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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