In humans, the ovaries produce eggs which must cross a gap within the abdominal cavity to reach the fallopian tube for descent down towards the uterus. However, not all mammals have this gap. Small rodents and other mammals have an ovarian bursa which allows for connection between the ovaries and fallopian tubes. While it would seem to be more efficient to directly connect the ovaries and fallopian tubes, this is not the case in humans and some other mammals. The difference of tissue types in the ovaries and fallopian tubes may not allow for direct connection. The evolutionary relationships between humans and other organisms were examined for patterns in the loss or gain of ovarian vestigial structures. Human and animal diseases of the female reproductive tract were also evaluated to see how loss of the ovarian bursa might be a result of a defense against disease. Perhaps the most compelling reason for the separation of the ovaries and fallopian tubes in old world monkeys and humans is due to differences in necessity for larger litters in other mammals.
Collette Vladimery is a biology major who intends to take a gap year before attending graduate school to complete her Masters of Public Health. After that she intends to apply to medical school. Collette is also a student athlete where she is captain of the lacrosse team.