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VIDEO: How a Fetus Gets Its Face

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By HVculture on May 11, 2011

The BBC photographed a fetus as it developed in utero from the age of one month to ten weeks.

It starts off looking like a microscopic dust mite before slightly resembling General Akbar from Return of the Jedi and ends up morphing together like a puzzle. Somehow, incredibly, the human face just all comes together. Watch this an unbelievable video:

The BBC has a bit more information on this amazing developmental feat of evolution.

If you watch it closely, you will see that the human face is actually formed of three main sections which rotate and come together in an unborn foetus.

The way this happens only really makes sense when you realise that, strange though it may sound, we are actually descended from fish.

The early human embryo looks very similar to the embryo of any other mammal, bird or amphibian – all of which have evolved from fish.

Your eyes start out on the sides of your head, but then move to the middle.

The top lip along with the jaw and palate started life as gill-like structures on your neck. Your nostrils and the middle part of your lip come down from the top of your head.

There is no trace of a scar; the plates of tissue and muscle fuse seamlessly. But there is, however, a little remnant of all this activity in the middle of your top lip – your philtrum.

This whole process, the bits coming together of the various elements to produce a recognisable human face, requires great precision.

To fuse correctly the three sections must grow and meet at precisely the right time in the womb.

There is something remarkably poetic about the philtrum being the scar of fetal development — a constant reminder of how our faces were formed in utero.

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