One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The most caudal and latest-developing part of the nephrogenic tissue of vertebrate embryos, which becomes the permanent kidney in amniotes.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Ray Lankester (1847–1929), zoologist. From meta- + ancient Greek νεϕρός kidney, after German Metanephron. In form metanephron after ancient Greek nouns in -ον. Compare French métanéphros. Compare the parallel formations mesonephros, pronephros.
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