Feeds

Why doesn't my belly button heal over?

Navel gazing

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Human navel gazing probably started with the Neanderthals 50,000 years ago and hasn’t stopped since. Our belly button does not heal over because there is nothing between it and our stomach except a few thin layers of skin.

The belly button is merely scar tissue of the umbilical cord where the cord has detached following birth. It is of no medical significance. Therefore, medical and anatomy texts pay it little or no attention.

Nevertheless, any animal that has been nourished in the womb must have a belly button, although it may not always be easily seen. According to Dr Edward Feldman of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis, "the scarring may be less obvious in some animals than in others, especially if it is covered by fur".

Where does belly button fuzz come from?

Belly button fuzz (or lint) comes from the clothes you wear. Some fabrics shed more than others. Some shapes of belly buttons are better collectors. A hairy belly button will collect fuzz better than a hairless one.

What is behind my belly button?

According to the punch line of an old joke: "If you unscrew your belly button, your bottom falls off." In reality, the umbilical vein comes from the afterbirth or placenta, which carries blood enriched with oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby.

The umbilical vein runs from the navel to the fetal liver and through a bypass vessel (the ducted venosus) to the fetal heart. After birth, the umbilical vein remains open for a time, but soon afterwards it closes and shrivels up to become a fibrous cord. It crosses the abdominal cavity in a fold of the abdominal wall lining forming the round ligament (the ligamentum teres). Sometimes things don't close as they should and an umbilical hernia develops.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.