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July 7, 2004

Stem Cell Transfer and the Uterus: The Egg Teaches the Chicken

JAMA. 2004;292(1):104-105. doi:10.1001/jama.292.1.104

Early humans associated the generative life force with the "woman-mother" in the form of large-breasted, round-bellied figures of veneration. One of the oldest Paleolithic female goddess statues, the Venus of Willendorf, dating from 22 000 BC, portrays a fecund, likely pregnant, woman.1 The Ebers Papyrus (c 1550 BC), one of the earliest Egyptian anatomic records, clearly describes the vagina and uterus.1 Given that both the early Egyptians and Greeks based their anatomic descriptions on animal dissections—human dissection was forbidden—the external genitalia, vagina, and cervix were faithfully described. However, descriptions of the uterus remained highly imaginative.