The involvement of skeletal muscle in the process of palatal development in mammals is an example of Waddingtonian epigenetics. Our earlier study showed that the cleft palate develops in the complete absence of skeletal musculature during embryonic development in mice. This contrasts with previous beliefs that tongue obstruction prevents the elevation and fusion of the palatal shelves. We argue that the complete absence of mechanical stimuli from the adjacent muscle, i.e., the lack of both static and dynamic loading, results in disordered palatogenesis. We further suggest that proper fusion of the palatal shelves depends not only on mechanical but also on paracrine contributions from the muscle. The muscle's paracrine role in the process of palatal fusion is achieved through its being a source of certain secreted and/or circulatory proteins.