Top 10 Mind-Blowers: Babies and Toddlers


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Babies Have Skull Windows
Nucleus Medical Art, Inc./Getty

Everyone knows that babies have soft spot on the top of their heads. It's called the anterior fontanelle and you can think of it as a membrane window into the skull.It fills in after a couple of years but until that time doctors can actually conduct baby brain scans using an ultrasound!

Our younglings have these strange little soft spots because our ancient ancestors jumped through two evolutionary hoops around the same time: walking upright and increased brain mass. The bipedal shift required a major reconfiguration of the birth canal: It became narrower just as our stupid brains were becoming fatter.

As such, the skull's fontanelles make the skull more malleable, deforming and stretching the head's overall shape so that mom can push the creature free. The two frontal bones of the skull can even slide past each other to squeeze through!


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.