For more than 2,000 years, philosophers and scientists have turned to the avian embryo with questions of how life begins (Aristotle and Peck Generations of Animals. Loeb Classics, vol. XIII. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1943; Needham, A history of embryology. Abelard-Schuman, New York, 1959). Then, as now, the unique accessibility of the embryo both in terms of acquisition of eggs from domesticated fowl and ease at which the embryo can be visualized by simply opening the shell has made avians an appealing and powerful model system for the study of development. Thus, as the field of embryology has evolved through observational, comparative, and experimental embryology into its current iteration as the cellular and molecular biology of development, avians have remained a useful and practical system of study.