Entry from US English dictionary
1Any of a series of openings between the gill arches of a fish, through which water passes from the pharynx to the exterior, bathing the gills in the process.
- One small gill slit is found in front of each pectoral fin.
- Water exits through the gill slits at the back of the head.
- Water is taken in through the spiracles, passed over the gills, and expelled through the gill slits on the underside of the body.
2A set of grooves similar to gill slits found in embryos of higher vertebrates.
- This may be illustrated by the gill slits in the embryos of higher vertebrates like reptiles, birds and mammals.
- Thus, the gill slits of the early human embryo supposedly repeat our distant ancestral past as a fish, while the transient embryonic tail, developing just afterward, marks the later reptilian phase of our evolutionary ascent.
- Another myth is the claim human embryos go through a fish-like stage and display gill slits.
For editors and proofreaders
Syllabification: gill slit
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