The early development of the quail (Coturnix c. japonica) furcula reconsidered



Although the avian furcula is generally regarded as a dermal bone, this view was challenged by Lansdown (1968a), who postulated that it is a cartilage bone. His reinterpretation was predicated upon histochemical data, derived from embryological observations made on the Japanese quail, and is deserving of further investigation as it bears importantly upon the interpretation of the homology of the furcula, and upon aspects of avian phylogeny and the origin of the flight apparatus.

Employing the same investigative methods as Lansdown (1968a), together with additional techniques, his interpretations have been reconsidered and no support for his suggestions has been found. The furcula of the quail, instead, has the early developmental characteristics of a typical dermal bone and conforms with the developmental details seen in the chicken.