Recent findings reveal qualitative developmental differences in extinction of learned fear. The present study explored potential developmental differences in the role of NMDA in acquisition and extinction. Rats were injected with MK-801 prior to fear conditioning or extinction training. Acquisition was found to be NMDA dependent in both age groups, whereas extinction was found to be NMDA dependent in 23-day-old rats, but NMDA independent in 16-day-old rats. These results illustrate another fundamental developmental difference in extinction as well as a dissociation in the role of NMDA in the acquisition and extinction of fear early in development.