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Origin and Comparative Anatomy of the Pectoral Limb : Anthony F. DePalma MD, FACS

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1007/s11999-007-0102-6
  • Symposium: Tribute To Dr. Anthony F. Depalma
  • First Editor-In-Chief Of Clinical Orthopaedics And Related Research


SYMPOSIUM: TRIBUTE TO DR. ANTHONY F. DEPALMA, FIRST EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF CLINICAL ORTHOPAEDICS AND RELATED RESEARCH The Classic Origin and Comparative Anatomy of the Pectoral Limb Anthony F. DePalma MD, FACS � The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons 2008 (The Classic Article is �1950 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and is reprinted with permission from DePalma AF. Origin and comparative anatomy of the pectoral limb. In: DePalma AF. Surgery of the Shoulder. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1950:1–14.) Richard A. Brand MD (&) Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 1600 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, USA e-mail: [email protected] Origin of Paired Appendages The origin of paired appendages has been the source of considerable controversy among morphologists. The lat- eral-fin theory has supplanted the gill-arch theory of Gegenbaur and is now accepted as the most plausible explanation of the beginning of these appendages. According to the lateral-fin theory, paired limbs are derived from longitudinal lateral folds of epidermis extending backward along the body from just behind the gills to the anus. By accentuation of the anterior and the posterior and suppression and reduction of the intermediate portions of the folds the pectoral and the pelvic fins were formed (Fig. 1). Into these folds muscle buds migrated from the ventral border of the adjoining myotomes, giving rise to radial muscles which motivated the fins and were the fore- runners of the intrinsic muscles of the hand (Bunnell). The muscle buds disclosed a metameric arrangement and derived their nerve supply from ventral roots of the spinal nerves. Peripheral nerve fibers in the base of the fin divide repeatedly, giving rise to a complex plexus. The number of myotomes which comprise the muscular apparatus of the fin is disclosed by the number of spinal nerves which contribute to the plexus. In ontogeny, motor nerves always supply the

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