Biology

The Embryonic Development Of A Human Face Is Mesmerizing

You know that vertical groove below your nose and above your lip? The one that seemingly serves no purpose, yet everyone has it? That groove is called the philtrum and, as British science journalist Dr. Michael Mosley explains in the clip below, its purpose stumped biologists for centuries. In 2011, the team at the BBC show Inside the Human Body analyzed data from scans of a developing embryo and found that the philtrum is "the place where the puzzle that is the human face finally all comes together." See the embryonic development of the face—and understand how that led to a groove above your lip—in the video below.

Face Development In The Womb

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Whales have vestigial hind-leg bones. 00:07

  2. At a certain stage of development in the womb, all human fetuses have a tail. 01:09

  3. The plica semilunaris in the corner of your eye is the vestigial remnant of a nictitating membrane. 02:05

Learning Begins In The Womb

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Written By Curiosity Staff March 2, 2017