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Branchial clefts

Branchial clefts

a bilateral series of slitlike openings into the pharynx through which water is drawn by aquatic animals; in the walls of the clefts are the vascular gill filaments that take up oxygen from the water passing through the cleft's; sometimes loosely applied to the branchial ectodermal grooves of mammalian embryos, which are imperforate, rudimentary homologues of complete gill clefts.

Synonym: gill clefts.


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