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J Anat. 1989 Jun;164:145-54.

The development of hyaline-cell cartilage in the head of the black molly, Poecilia sphenops. Evidence for secondary cartilage in a teleost.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University College, Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales, UK.


The development of hyaline-cell cartilage attached to membrane (dentary, maxilla, nasal, lacrimal and cleithrum) and cartilage (basioccipital) bones has been studied in the viviparous black molly, Poecilia sphenops. Intramembranous ossification commences before the first appearance of hyaline cells. As hyaline-cell cartilage is densely cellular and as that attached to the dentary, maxilla and cleithrum develops from the periosteum of these membrane bones, it must be regarded as secondary cartilage according to current concepts. It is also argued that the hyaline-cell cartilage attached to the perichondral bone of the basioccipital (a cartilage bone), could also be viewed as secondary. The status of the cartilage on the nasal and lacrimal bones is less clear, for it develops, at least in part, from mucochondroid (mucous connective) tissue. This is the first definitive report of secondary cartilage in any lower vertebrate. The tissue is therefore not restricted to birds and mammals as hitherto believed, and a multipotential periosteum must have arisen early in vertebrate evolution.

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