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. 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 and really smart at the same time.

The first part is the screw up. It's when a pregnancy that 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, like 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 (62)
  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    2/17/2015 - 09:44 p.m.

    This is very creepy because I never knew that a baby can turn into stone. I find that very creepy. I think it looks impossible because there cannot be a stone baby while it is still inside the womb. Well, this disproves my claim because scientists have found out that stone babies forming is possible. Archaeologists also excavated a stone baby in Texas that was apparently 3,000 years old. It also said there were about 300 cases of stone babies in medical literature.
    Critical thinking challenge: How does a stone baby form?
    Answer: A stone baby forms when the mother's body recognizes that the fetus could be a threat coats the baby in calcium.

  • LilyE-4
    2/17/2015 - 10:35 p.m.

    Have you ever wondered what a stone baby was? Well, now you can know! A stone baby, or lithopedion, Greek for stone baby, had been around for quite some time, one even dating back to over 3,000 years old! A stone baby can occur when a pregnancy occurs outside of the womb in the abdominal cavity. The mother's body believes the fetus to be a threat, and coats the fetus in calcium, like an oyster turning an irritating grain of sand into a nice smooth pearl. Thus resulting in a stone baby. I think this is so amazing but strange at the same time, because it is so cool what our bodies can do to protect itself.

  • MCS2001softball
    2/18/2015 - 08:43 a.m.

    It's an interesting thought to think that these women could have had children but instead ended up with a rock inside their abdomen. I think that a lot could be learned from this, like how to see if a baby isn't inside the womb or if the baby is doing okay inside the womb. Many medical advancements are and could be stemmed from this idea of a "stone baby", so I'm interested to see what happens next.

  • GigiSylvester-Ste
    2/18/2015 - 10:07 a.m.

    This is really cool,but really creepy at the same time. In the picture, it kinda looks like a human fossil. Its crazy how they found one 3,000 years old.

  • kimj-boo
    2/18/2015 - 11:21 a.m.

    A stone baby forms when a pregnancy occurs outside of the womb in the abdominal cavity. The mother's body, recognizing that the fetus could be a threat, coats it in calcium, like any oyster turning an irritating grain of sand into a nice smooth pearl.

  • kyrap-boo
    2/18/2015 - 11:38 a.m.

    A stone baby is formed when a pregnancy occurs outside of the womb rather than in the uterus. Then, your body recognizes it as a threat and coats it in calcium, making it as hard as stone.

  • CT14
    2/18/2015 - 01:01 p.m.

    So uh... a stone baby, that's new. This was both weird and cool, with a tad bit of depression. This stone baby lives unknowingly for the most part in the mother not living or growing. This news is enough to make any woman cringe. I'd also like to know what do they do in the end with the stone baby?

  • b.m2001empire
    2/18/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    . It's when a pregnancy that occurs outside of the womb in the abdominal cavity. 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.

  • Mago-L
    2/18/2015 - 01:06 p.m.

    A stone baby so baby's can be born as a stone that is weird really really really weird but that's how there born sum time it you have to deal with It

  • KathyBuns
    2/18/2015 - 01:17 p.m.

    This is horrible. Although I do admit that our bodies, as humans, are not perfect, this is something I didn't think would happened. It's something I have never heard about, yet happening for so many years? It's a good thing for people to learn about this, just to show have evolved we are in our bodies... It's a bad thing though for this to happen.

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