Medicine: Viewing Life Before Birth

It is no bigger than a thumbnail, but its outsize heart is beating strongly. Under its thin, transparent outer tissue, the disproportionately large brain is clearly visible, and the frail, curving backbone appears to end in a tadpole-like tail. Arms have already formed, along with a thin network of blood vessels, a darkly pigmented eye, and features that will soon be transformed into mouth, lips and ears. Miniature webbed fingers can be seen forming within a paddle-shaped hand. Only 40 days after its conception, this tiny, throbbing bundle of life is recognizable as...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!