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, which is Greek for stone baby.

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

How could this possibly happen?

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

The first part is the screw up, a pregnancy that occurs outside of the womb in the abdominal cavity.

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

There have been about 300 cases of 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?

Assigned 22 times


COMMENTS (14)
  • BradfordAmani-DiB
    2/17/2015 - 11:37 a.m.

    The stone baby is a screwed up birth pregnancy thing.
    The term is a Greek term. From Greek. Archeologists are in Texas found a stone that was at least

  • AlmodovarJoshua-DiB
    2/17/2015 - 11:48 a.m.

    its about a greek baby stone. and how it evoves over time. it is from thousands of years ago and is a reminder of what life was like back then.

  • nicholas.jones07
    2/17/2015 - 12:41 p.m.

    I think that stone babies are very interesting. How could the human body turn a baby outside the womb into a stone. I think that would hurt very much.

  • Son_Of_Zeus
    2/17/2015 - 12:45 p.m.

    This is very weird, yet interesting that a pregnancy can happen outside of the womb and then the body covers it in calcium that it doesn't cause harm to the body. A stone baby occurs when the fetus starts to grow outside the womb and the covers it with calcium so it doesn't cause harm to the body.

  • ninag-DiB
    2/17/2015 - 01:46 p.m.

    lithopedion is greek for stone baby and a stone baby is something that has turned in to stone 40 plus years ago. it happenes because the body can be really stupid and smart at the same time.

  • HicksQueen-DiB
    2/18/2015 - 11:05 a.m.

    I have never heard of a stone baby in my life. This article is weird and interesting but mostly weird. I didn't even learn anything from this article

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    2/19/2015 - 01:14 p.m.

    I didn't even know this happened. It sounds so weird and it must hurt. Plus, why would people let it go for so long? I know some people don't know about it right away but still.

  • L.E 1999 blue
    2/23/2015 - 09:02 a.m.

    How do the baby turns in to a stone or is called a stone baby how is that possible. How do people know when there going to have a stone baby what port of the body makes the baby turn into a stone? If someone is having a stone baby what would they have to do for her not to have a lot of pain?

  • asjah-DiB
    2/23/2015 - 05:41 p.m.

    A stone baby is made when a mothers body feels the fetus could be a threat covering it in calcium turning it into a nice smooth pearl to keep the mothers womb safe.

  • asjah-DiB
    2/23/2015 - 05:42 p.m.

    A stone baby is made when a mothers body feels the fetus could be a threat covering it in calcium turning it into a nice smooth pearl to keep the mothers womb safe.

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