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A placenta is a bodily structure that allows nutrient and gases to pass between the mother and the embryo.[1] Many wild animals, including herbivores (despite the placenta being a form of meat), will eat their placenta in order to avoid being detected by predators soon after the energy-taxing task of giving birth. The practice of eating the placenta is called placentophagy, and it is practiced in some human cultures-- notably the Chinese.

Placenta comes from the Latin for mother or flat cake [2] and the name has been accordingly adapted for crêpes in many Slavic languages.


  1. Wile, Dr. Jay L. Exploring Creation With Biology. Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. 1998
  2. Merriam-Webster Online