Letter | Published:

Ovaries of Some Fœtal and Prepubertal Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis (Linnæus)

Abstract

IN several species of mammals the ovaries of near-term fœtuses show a departure from the typical pattern of development as known in the laboratory rodents, the cat, the dog, etc. Deviations from this normal have been described in the fœtal gonads of the horse1, the seal2 and the African elephant3, in which species an enormous development of interstitial cells is a characteristic feature. A premature development of large ovarian follicles, with antrum formation and luteinization, has been described in the human full-term fœtus4–9. Follicle development up to antrum formation appears to be a constant occurrence in the ovaries of near-term fœtal sheep (personal observations), and can occur in the cow8. The morphogenesis of the giraffe fœtal gonads provides yet another example of a departure from the normal pattern.

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