Natural phenomenon of the third nipple

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The release of a story about a woman who says she had a third breast has caused both incredulity and disgust across the world.

Although images of 21-year-old Jasmine Tridevil may be a hoax and a story to gain attention, it is possible to naturally have three breasts.

Nipples are normally formed in the uterus and develop along the milk lines, which are two lines of glandular tissue. These commence in the underarm, run down to the chest and the abdomen, and down to the groin. At around six weeks old, an embryo’s nipples start developing along these lines and by the age of nine weeks, the remaining tissue degenerates.

In the event that the process is not completed and the tissue fails to degenerate fully, it is possible for additional nipples to form along the milk lines. It is estimates that around one in 18 people are born with extra nipples, however, these are generally small and are mistaken for a mole.

Celebrities, such as Mark Wahlberg, Lily Allen and Harry Styles claim to members of the ‘triple nipple club’. There is also the possibility for a nipple to develop next to breast tissue, which would give the appearance of three naturally formed breasts.

Gillian Philip, an author from Elgin in Scotland, said the only concern she had over her two extra nipples was that they may develop into breasts. She describes the two ‘supernumerary’ nipples at the base of her rib cage, as baby’s nipples because they are pink and small. She has not been self-conscious about them at all.

The reason for the furore over Ms Tridevil’s claims may be due to the fact that those who would prefer to have two nipples can have the extra set removed by plastic surgery procedures. Anyone who is born with a full extra breast would more than likely have it removed surgically.

The fact that it is possible to naturally have additional nipples, and that it is quite common, does not make Ms Tridevil different from other human beings.

Image Credit: listal

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