Skip to main content

The question you never thought to ask: Why don’t the ovaries and fallopian tubes connect?

Collette Vladimery
Presenter(s)
Collette Vladimery
Major(s)/Minor(s)
Faculty Adviser(s)

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.  

Project Media
Biography

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.

Comments

...when I learned that the ovaries and Fallopian tubes weren't connected, I thought of the unfertilized eggs as being like tiny kangaroos climbing up to get to the pouch. Can't wait to hear your answer to this odd design of the female reproductive system.

Submitted by Paula_Young on Tue, 04/13/2021 - 19:59 Permalink

This was a very interesting presentation! While reading the project summary, I wondered about the relationship between the disconnect of the ovaries and fallopian tubes and ectopic pregnancy, then you discussed it in your presentation video! This was extremely well-done and thought out! Congratulations on the completion of your project! 

Submitted by laurenprivette on Wed, 04/14/2021 - 16:48 Permalink

Congratulations, Coco! You're absolutely right and you made me laugh regarding the question I never thought to ask! 

It's quite interesting. I look forward to the Q & A tomorrow and learning more about the gap. 

Job well done!

Submitted by susanharding on Wed, 04/14/2021 - 21:39 Permalink