[Comparative anatomical studies of the vomeronasal complex and the rostral palate of various mammals. I]

Gegenbaurs Morphol Jahrb. 1984;130(4):501-30.
[Article in German]


The anatomy of the vomeronasal complex and, in connection with this, the structures of the rostral palate were studied in different species of mammals, namely members of the order Marsupialia, Scandentia, Insectivora, Primates, Rodentia, and Lagomorpha. The following results were obtained: The organs of Jacobson of all forms studied are well-developed. The organ of Jacobson is situated at the base of the nasal septum and opens rostrally, always closely connected to the nasopalatine duct. Even in rodents, lagomorphs and Solenodon, where the openings of the organs are positioned rostral to the ductus, both systems are nevertheless connected by means of special furrows. Accordingly the organs of Jacobson are functionally much more closely related to the oral cavity than to the nasal cavity, which they actually belong to. This can be emphasized by the peculiar structures of the rostral palate inclosing the papilla palatina and with it the oral openings of the nasopalatine ducts. In all species studied, the anterior part of the upper jaw presents a very interesting situation because the median furrow of the rhinarium communicates directly or indirectly with the sulcus papillae palatinae, thus forming a very distinct system of grooves which preserves a connection between the nasopalatine ducts and the preoral surroundings. In rodents, lagomorphs, and Solenodon, we find in this part of the palate a special situation because of their unusually arranged incisors, which are not separated by a diastema. However, also in these cases, there are distinct connecting passages between the papilla palatina and the extraoral surroundings. The conditions found in Ratufa bicolor and in early stages of the rat demonstrate that the extraordinary topography of the rostral palate in rodents is a secondary formation by means of ontogeny and phylogeny. Cebus apella, a platyrrhine simian, shows already a clear reduction of palatal structures compared to those found in prosimians. In Setifer setosus and Echinops telfairi, we find the papilla palatina and with it the oral openings of the nasopalatine ducts overgrown by a bipartite caudal branch of the rhinarium. The neonate Setifer allows us to reconstruct the mechanism of this overgrowing procedure. We find a similar situation in Erinaceus, where the papilla palatina remains uncovered, however. Because of contradictory bibliographical data, some elements of the vomeronasal complex in mammals needed to be carefully analysed in regard to structure and nomenclature: in many species the paraseptal cartilage bifurcates rostrally into a dorsal and a ventral branch.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Eulipotyphla / anatomy & histology
  • Lagomorpha / anatomy & histology
  • Mammals / anatomy & histology*
  • Marsupialia / anatomy & histology
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Nasal Bone / anatomy & histology*
  • Nasal Septum / anatomy & histology*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / anatomy & histology*
  • Palate / anatomy & histology*
  • Primates / anatomy & histology
  • Rodentia / anatomy & histology
  • Species Specificity
  • Tupaia / anatomy & histology