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Published on Aug 5, 2009
This remarkable film record of marsupial birth shows mating, the female's preparation for the birth of her young and, finally, the birth itself.
One birth sequence shows the natural behaviour of the mother as the young makes its way, unaided, to the pouch. A second sequence, with the anaesthetised female, shows the moment of birth more clearly and follows the embryo''s long journey up over the fur to the pouch, where it develops as an externalised foetus.
The significance of the oestrous cycle and gestation period, egg fertilisation, and the development of the embryo in the uterus, is shown in animated diagrams.