Endoderm differentiation and movements are of fundamental importance not only for subsequent morphogenesis of the digestive tract but also to enable normal patterning and differentiation of mesoderm- and ectoderm-derived organs. This review defines the tissues that have been called endoderm in different species, their cellular origin and their movements. We take a comparative approach to ask how signaling pathways leading to embryonic and extraembryonic endoderm differentiation have emerged in different organisms, how they became integrated and point to specific gaps in our knowledge that would be worth filling. Lastly, we address whether the gastrulation movements that lead to endoderm internalization are coupled with its differentiation.