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Faculty Consult on In the Womb: Animals for National Geographic

model of an elephant fetus in the womb Cornell faculty played important roles in developing the groundbreaking special In the Womb: Animals, which premiered on the National Geographic Channel (NGC) on Sunday, December 10, 2006 and will be shown again at 9:00 p.m. E.T. on December 14. For the first time, viewers were able to visualize the prenatal development of three mammals - elephant, dolphin and dog - and witness their early similarities followed by different paths to birth.

Dr. Donald Schlafer, Professor of Comparative Obstetrical and Gynecological Pathology, Dr. Drew Noden, Professor of Embryology and Animal Development, and Dr. Howard Evans, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy, acted as consultants for the special. They provided numerous photographs of canine uteruses, fetuses and placentas and critiqued the models that were made to portray stages of fetal development. The professors also reviewed prerelease versions of the video production to ensure accuracy of the accompanying narrative. While at Oxford in the spring, Dr. Schlafer traveled to London to view the models in person and witness filming for the special.

According to the NGC, the program features state-of-the art visual effects, computer graphics and real-time, moving 4-D ultrasound imagery to take viewers inside the unique world of animal fetal development. The special, geared toward a lay audience, uses comparative reproductive biology to view animal pregnancy from mating, through fetal development, delivery and neo-natal growth, according to Dr. Schlafer. "The special includes fascinating comparative embryology and very realistic simulations of fetal development," said Dr. Noden.

More information on the program can be found at NGC's website:

The special premiered at 8:00 pm E.T. on December 10th and be shown again at 9:00pm on December 14th, 12:00am on December 15th, 4:00pm on December 16th; it will premier in the United Kingdom on December 21st.