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, mullerian, paramesonephric, or female ducts (see Nomina Anatomica, 5th ed., 1983). The whole female internal genital system of eutherian (“placental”) mammals, with the probable exception of the vagina, is basically double—two ovaries, two oviducts, and two uteri. The vagina is completely paired in monotremes and marsupials and has been reported to be partially divided by a longitudinal septum in one genus of bat (Hipposideros) (Karim, 1973), 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.


Fetal Membrane Comparative Anatomy Round Ligament Broad Ligament Cervical Canal 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harland W. Mossman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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