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  • It's likely to be the first scar you ever get.

  • It's a bit like a biological USB port,

  • transferring oxygen and nutrients to you in the womb.

  • And although you probably don't pay it much attention

  • it's key to what makes us human -

  • in fact it's just about impossible to be born without one.

  • Omphalophobics beware, we're talking about belly buttons.

  • Available in two varieties, innie or outie,

  • nearly every mammal has a belly button.

  • I said nearly, I'm looking at you duck-billed platypus -

  • we'd need a whole other video for what you've got going on.

  • Now not having easy access to scissors,

  • other mammals tend to just gnaw their umbilical cords off

  • after they're born

  • and therefore they have flatter scars that are more difficult to see.

  • Now even if we humans didn't snip our umbilical cord

  • it would just go a bit dried and horrible

  • and fall off after three to 10 days anyway.

  • Some celebrities have even kept the withered remains

  • and used it to make art - which is, you know, very normal and fine.

  • The humble belly button

  • is one of the first things about you that develops in the womb,

  • way before the brain or the lungs or anything, really.

  • It's the very foundation of what you are.

  • It connects directly to your umbilical cord

  • which is made up of a vein and two arteries.

  • The umbilical cord keeps us alive in the womb -

  • a squishy motorway carrying oxygen and nutrients

  • from the placenta to the foetus

  • and transporting waste products back the other way.

  • That cord is the most indispensable but disposable organ

  • you're ever going to have.

  • It's a key part of what makes us mammals too.

  • The connection with our mothers before we're born

  • is integral to our development.

  • Your mother's belly button probably changed as you grew inside her too.

  • Many expectant mums go from having an innie to an outie

  • in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

  • When their expanding uterus puts enough pressure on the abdominal wall

  • pop goes the navel.

  • Once you've made your grand entrance into the world

  • it may seem like your belly button has served its purpose

  • but it does remain important,

  • especially if you ever need abdominal keyhole surgery.

  • The belly button is the ideal entry point,

  • being so central to all your vitals.

  • The navel has fascinated various cultures throughout history,

  • from Greek myths suggesting our scars are a reminder from the gods

  • not to have another go at an uprising.

  • "Can't go to war sorry, my belly button says so."

  • To Japan, where children are warned that during a storm

  • the demonic, three-fingered god of lightning, Raijin,

  • could steal their belly buttons

  • in the seconds after a lightning flash. Scary.

  • Although we all have them, subject to Raijin's mercy,

  • belly buttons were taboo until fairly recently.

  • Not so long ago, they were deemed too hot for TV in the US

  • and were banned from appearing on screen in 1934.

  • By the 50s, female stars were skirting the line

  • of so-called decency

  • by covering their navels with jewellery so they could belly dance

  • without causing too much of a fuss.

  • Nobody seems to be able to agree on

  • who was the first to slip by the American censors.

  • Some say it was Star Trek,

  • going boldly where no TV show had gone before in 1967.

  • While some others claim it was Cher herself

  • who first showed her navel on the telly,

  • but to clear that one up, we might have to 'Turn Back Time'.

  • The next logical step for belly button enthusiasts is of course...

  • making belly button cheese.

  • Turns out that the unique bacteria nestled in some navels

  • can actually be used in cheesemaking,

  • leading to what might be the weirdest brie you're likely to never sample.

  • Right, OK, that's enough about belly button cheese.

  • Whether you end up with an innie or an outie

  • has nothing to do with how the umbilical cord is cut.

  • It's just part of what makes us diverse.

  • So whatever you've got,

  • dig out that crop top from the back of the wardrobe

  • and wear it with pride.

  • Now let's face it, they're not much to look at

  • but they've fascinated us since we first gazed upon our own navel

  • confronted with the knowledge that we once had

  • a literal, physical connection with another person.

  • So take a minute to ponder the humble belly button.

  • And get that bit of fluff out of there while you're at it.

It's likely to be the first scar you ever get.

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B2 UK belly belly button button cord navel womb

Why your belly button is amazing | BBC Ideas

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    Annie Huang posted on 2020/06/22
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