Development of the Marsupial Cardiorespiratory System
Fetal development is characterised by two major processes, the differentiation of cells and tissues, and the growth of organs and the body as a whole. In these functions, marsupials differ from eutherian mammals in that the majority of the growth phase occurs in an air-breathing situation, rather than the liquid intrauterine environment of the eutherian fetus. Such differences ultimately relate to the relatively shorter period of gestation versus lactation in marsupials as compared to eutheria and the consequentially smaller mass of the neonate.
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