Treatment of pregnant ferrets on embryonic day 24 (E24) with the antimitotic methylazoxy methanol (MAM) leads to a specific constellation of effects in newborn kits, which include a very thin and poorly laminated neocortex, disruption of radial glial cell morphology with early differentiation into astrocytes, and abnormal positioning of Cajal–Retzius cells. We suggest that MAM treatment on E24 results in this model of cortical dysplasia by eliminating a population of cells that produce a factor capable of maintaining radial glia in their normal morphology. The abnormal radial glia, either alone or in combination with other abnormal features, are likely to prevent proper migration into the cortical plate. To test the possibility that normal cortex can provide the missing substance that influences radial glia, slices of E24 MAM-treated cortex were removed at postnatal day 0 (P0) and cultured adjacent to explants of P0 normal cortical plate. By labelling a small number of cells with injections of fluorescent dextrans into the cultured slices, we found that abnormal radial glia in MAM treated slices cocultured adjacent to normal cortical plate were restored toward normal, in comparison to E24 MAM treated slices cultured alone and in other control conditions. We also found that abnormally positioned Cajal–Retzius cells move into the marginal zone and that neurons are able to migrate into the cortical plate more effectively in the coculture condition. These data indicate that normal cortical plate of ferrets contains a factor causing radial glia to maintain their elongated morphology; the improved position of radial glia encourages repositioning of Cajal–Retzius cells and improved neuronal migration into the cortical plate.