Histochemical mapping of AChE-positive neuroblasts in sectioned and whole-mounted preparations of the chick embryo mesencephalon and prosencephalon allows a correlation of early neural tube morphogenesis (segmentation, longitudinal compartmentation) with the heterochronic pattern of neurogenesis. One significant finding is that the initial appearance of neuroblasts in the forebrain does not follow neuromeric segmentation, but evolves in parallel with it. Early neuroblasts appear as separate, distinct groups within specific matrix territories at the center of the transverse neuromeric segments. Neighbouring segments display different spatiotemporal patterns of neurogenesis. Overall gradients of differentiation in the rostrocaudal and ventrodorsal directions are absent, whereas a clear-cut segment-related, mosaic pattern becomes evident. Notwithstanding this, gross regularities of heterochrony in the neurogenetic behavior of the different segments lead to a definition of elemental longitudinal compartments of the forebrain and mesencephalon (floor, paramedian, basal, and alar regions) on the basis of precocious differentiation of the basal region and retarded differentiation of the paramedian and alar regions.