Whats a stone baby? (Smithsonian.com)
Whats a stone baby?
Lexile

You asked us, what's a stone baby?

Well, science calls it a lithopedion. The word is Greek for stone baby.

News organizations have been all over the story of these two women in their '80s. They went to their doctor for stomach pains, only to find something like this in their bellies. The fetuses had turned to stone 40 plus years ago.

How could this possibly happen?

Well, it turns out that the body can be really stupid. It also can be really smart at the same time.

The first part is the screw up. It's when a pregnancy occurs outside of the womb in the abdominal cavity.

The second part is the genius. The mother's body, recognizing that the fetus could be a threat, coats it in calcium. It's similar to an oyster turning an irritating grain of sand into a nice smooth pearl.

There have been about 300 cases a stone babies reported in medical literature. And they show up even further back in time. Archaeologists digging at a grave site in Texas found a stone baby that's apparently over 3,000 years old.

For more incredible stories like this, check us out every day at smithsonian.com.

Critical thinking challenge: How does a stone baby form?

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COMMENTS (7)
  • peytoni-Hyl
    2/17/2015 - 12:01 p.m.

    I thought the article was amazing. I have never heard of a stone baby be for. Also, the article was interesting because they told me that there was 3,000 year old stone baby.

  • ashleighb-Hyl
    2/17/2015 - 12:02 p.m.

    This was a very interesting article. It was cool they included a video and I think they should include one all the time. I just don't want that to happen to me. I give this article a thumbs up!!! :)

  • victorb-Wre
    2/17/2015 - 01:20 p.m.

    I think that this article was interesting and amazing I have never even heard about a stone baby and now that you've ex planed it it makes sense.

  • samuelw-Hyl
    2/18/2015 - 12:03 p.m.

    I like this article because I didn't know that there was anything called a stone baby. So a stone baby is when a baby is grown outside the womb in the abdominal cavity when the body can be stupid and smart at the same time. THIS ARTICLE WAS A AWESOME EXPERIENCE TO KNOW. I LIKED THE ARTICLE.

  • caitlynnk-Hyl
    2/19/2015 - 11:57 a.m.

    This atrial is weird, interesting and cool at the same time. I never new that a stone baby even existed in history till now. This atrial was relay informational. I wonder how long it takes to remove a stone baby from a women's stomach. Like if these women need a surgery which they probably do. If you want to be a Doctor or a nurse you should probably read this atrial. Or you can read it just for fun. To me i think three hundred cases is a lot because i did not even know about it till now.

  • TomI-Saw
    5/28/2015 - 12:31 p.m.

    why must the baby be a stone its scary and weird at the same time so its creepy.

  • John0724-YYCA
    7/13/2015 - 01:31 p.m.

    I never knew that the fetuses could turn to stone but I think that it is really weird that it turns to stone because then for the girls they literally have a big chunk of stone in their stomach but I wonder if they become heavy if they have a stone baby. I think that having a stone baby is a bad thing because it said in the article that the two women in their 80's came saying that they have a terrible stomachache.

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