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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