Reproduction in Mammals: General Overview


Reproduction in mammals is sexual and, with rare exceptions, fetal nutrition is provided via a placenta. The reproductive and developmental processes are similar in most mammalian species although the time of events can differ greatly.

Keywords: oestrus; menstrual cycle; placentation; seasonality; fetal development

Figure 1.

Uterine configurations. (a) Double uterus, found in monotremes. (b) Double uterus with two vaginas, found in marsupials. (c) Bifid with small uterine body, found in rodents. (d) Two‐pronged with larger uterine body, found in carnivores and ungulates. (e) Simplex with large uterine body, found in bats and primates. Drawn by Anne Morvant.


Further Reading

Benirschke K and Kaufmann P (1997) Placental types. Pathology of the Human Placenta, 3rd edn, pp. 1–13. New York: Springer‐Verlag.

Boitani L and Bartoli S (1983) Simon & Schuster's Guide to Mammals. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Gilbert SF (1997) Developmental Biology, 5th edn. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.

Nowack RM (ed.) (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World, 6th edn. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Harrison, Richard M(Apr 2001) Reproduction in Mammals: General Overview. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001855]