1. <zoology> One of the actual or ideal serial segments of which an animal, especially. An articulate or vertebrate, is is composed; somatome; metamere. Somitic.

2. <embryology> Segmentally arranged blocks of mesoderm lying on either side of the notochord and neural tube during development of the vertebrate embryo.

Somites are formed sequentially, starting at the head. Each somite will give rise to muscle from the myotome region), spinal column (from the sclerotome) and dermis (from dermatome).

(04 Mar 1998)