Introduction: The gray short-tailed opossum, Monodelhis domestica (M. domestica), is a widely used marsupial model species that presents unique advantages for neurodevelopmental studies. Notably their extremely altricial birth allows manipulation of postnatal pups at timepoints equivalent to embryonic stages of placental mammals. A robust literature exists on the development of short-tailed opossums, but many researchers working in the more conventional model species of mice and rats may find it daunting to identify the appropriate age at which to conduct experiments. Methods: Here, we present detailed staging diagrams taken from photographic observations of 40 individual pups, in 6 litters, over 25 timepoints across postnatal development. We also present a comparative neurodevelopmental timeline of short-tailed opossums (M. domestica), the house mouse (Mus musculus), and the laboratory rat (Rattus norvegicus) during embryonic as well as postnatal development, using timepoints taken from this study and a review of existing literature, and use this dataset to present statistical models comparing the opossum to the rat and mouse. Results: One aim of this research was to aid in testing the generalizability of results found in rodents to other mammalian brains, such as the more distantly related metatherians. However, this broad dataset also allows the identification of potential heterochronies in opossum development compared to rats and mice. In contrast to previous work, we found broad similarity between the pace of opossum neural development with that of rats and mice. We also found that development of some systems was accelerated in the opossum, such as the forelimb motor plant, oral motor control, and some aspects of the olfactory system, while the development of the cortex, some aspects of the retina, and other aspects of the olfactory system are delayed compared to the rat and mouse. Discussion: The pace of opossum development is broadly similar to that of mice and rats, which underscores the usefulness of this species as a compliment to the more commonly used rodents. Many features that differ the most between opossums and rats and mice were either clustered around the day of birth and were features that have functional importance for the pup immediately after or during birth, or were features that have reduced functional importance for the pup until later in postnatal development, given that it is initially attached to the mother.

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