ANAHEIM, CA—Noting that the cast-off segments of the tiny carapace are a popular keepsake among parents, Dr. James Gallagher asked a new mother on Friday if she would like to save her newborn’s exoskeleton. “Many new parents hold onto their baby’s discarded outer epidermis as a memento,” said Gallagher, who noted that the baby instinctively forms its exoskeleton from detritus found in the womb, making it a uniquely individual, personal souvenir, but cautioning the newborn’s mother that the hardening natal skin should be pressed into a scrapbook or presentation frame before the fluids dried out. “It’s just a nice thing to remember the beautiful moment when your child molted, scuttling free from the rigid shell where it spent nine months growing. Plus, it’s fun to show them how tiny they used to be, and to count the little rings to see how many of their fellow spawnlings they consumed.” Gallagher added that some mothers take the exoskeleton home to eat for its perceived health benefits, but the practice is widely discouraged by medical professionals.
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