The morphology, position, and presence of the upper jaw bones vary greatly across amniote taxa. In this review, we compare the development and anatomy of upper jaw bones from the three living amniote groups: reptiles, birds, and mammals. The study of reptiles is particularly important as comparatively little is known about the embryogenesis of the jaw in this group. Our review covers the ontogeny and phylogeny of membranous bones in the face. The aim is to identify conserved embryonic processes that may exist among the three major amniote groups. Finally, we discuss how temporal and spatial regulation of preosseous condensations and ossification centers can lead to variation in the morphology of amniote upper jaw bones. Developmental Dynamics 235:1230–1243, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.