Early embryogenesis is characterized by the segregation of cell lineages that fulfill critical roles in the establishment of pregnancy and development of the fetus. The formation of the blastocyst marks the emergence of extraembryonic precursors, needed for implantation, and of pluripotent cells, which differentiate toward the major lineages of the adult organism. The coordinated emergence of these cell types shows that these processes are broadly conserved in mammals. However, developmental heterochrony and changes in gene regulatory networks highlight unique evolutionary adaptations that may explain the diversity in placentation and in the mechanisms controlling pluripotency in mammals. The incorporation of new technologies, including single-cell omics, imaging, and gene editing, is instrumental for comparative embryology. Broadening the knowledge of mammalian embryology will provide new insights into the mechanisms driving evolution and development. This knowledge can be readily translated into biomedical and biotechnological applications in humans and livestock, respectively.