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        Gross Science | Why Do These Babies Eat Their Mother's Skin?

        Learn why caecilian babies eat their mother’s skin, in this episode of Gross Science from NOVA. Caecilians are legless amphibians that live underground in rainforests throughout most of the world. For years, scientists were puzzled by the rapid growth of baby caecilians until they observed the offspring eating the mother's skin. This behavior is called maternal dermatophagy. The mother grows a layer of especially fatty skin specifically for her babies to eat. Maternal dermatophagy is similar to breast-feeding in humans, in which the mother produces a food source from her own body for her offspring to consume. This resource is part of the NOVA: Gross Science Collection.

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