• Meckel's cartilage;
  • Mandible;
  • Human embryos;
  • Human fetuses


This work studied the development of the ventral part of Meckel's cartilage in a series of human embryos (classified in stages) and fetuses. These stages appeared particularly important: stage 16, appearance of Meckel's cartilage; stage 20, beginning of membranous ossification of mandible; and stage 23, end of the embryonic period (8th week). The primitive bony nodule which develops from the embryonic mesenchyme appears as a double bony layer forming a groove containing the neurovascular bundle, into which the dental lamina is also invaginated. It was concluded that during the fetal period, the cartilage participates in the formation of the body of the mandible in an area close to the mental foramen via endochondral ossification. The cartilage disappears in parallel with the development of ossification by the sixth month. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.