The objective of these experiments was to determine the embryonic origins of craniofacial and cervical voluntary muscles and associated connective tissues in the chick. To accomplish this, suspected primordia, including somitomeres 3-7, somites 1-7, and cephalic neural crest primordia have been transplanted from quail into chick embryos. Quail cells can be detected by the presence of a species-specific nuclear marker. The results are summarized as follows: (table; see text) These results indicate that muscles associated with branchial arch skeletal structures are derived from paraxial mesoderm, as are all other voluntary muscles in the vertebrate embryo. Thus, theories of vertebrate ontogeny and phylogeny based in part on proposed unique features of branchiomeric muscles must be critically reappraised. In addition, many of these cephalic muscles are composites of two separate primordia: the myogenic stem cells of mesodermal origin and the supporting and connective tissues derived from the neural crest or lateral plate mesoderm. Defining these embryonic origins is a necessary prerequisite to understanding how the mesenchymal primordia of cephalic muscles and connective tissues interact to form patterned, species-unique musculoskeletal systems.