Teresa: What's a belly button?
It's a fact of life — no matter how placental a mammal is, clones don't have belly buttons. It's a common plot device used to distinguish those inferior, artificially created creatures from natural, unique human beings. Makes those knowledgeable of human physiology wonder just how these people developed, not having ever been attached to placentas before.
Natural clones such as identical twins don't count. They get to keep their navels.
Justified if the process for creating the beings somehow has nothing to do with fetal development, or if the species isn't even placental in the first place. It is common in magical constructs such as homunculi too, and of artificial beings in general.note note
See Also Barbie Doll Anatomy where other attributes are missing.
- Youkai in Tokimeki ★ Mononoke Jogakkou lack bellybuttons, so Arare has to keep hers hidden to avoid being found out as a human.
- An early chapter of Doctor Slump has Robot Girl Arale worried because she lacks a navel and her classmates find that weird, so she wants one. Except her creator Senbei thinks she wants something a bit lower, which he's never seen because of Japanese censorship. Hilarity Ensues.
- The main character in Dokonjou Gaeru is a frog, and they naturally don't have bellybuttons. This was pointed out a few times, and is even part of the lyrics in one of the ending songs.
- Dragon Half lampshades this when Lufa asks the half dragon Mink why she has a belly button if she hatched from an egg.
- Inverted in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, where the mermaids do have navels... except, while they can be born the normal way (one minor character has a mother, and a fade-to-black with the main character and her humanoid boyfriend brings to mind the Mermaid Problem), most are born by taking a dead or otherwise departed mermaid's pearl to a magic shell to create a new mermaid, which would mean they shouldn't have any! Then again, that plot element was only introduced in the middle of retconning the pearls to be Soul Jars instead of just Transformation Trinkets, so it probably wasn't all that thought through.
- There is an old joke:
Q: If you go to Heaven and look for Adam and Eve, how will you know which two people are them?
A: They're the only two without belly buttons.
- In the Doctor Who New Adventures, Time Lords are constructed by machines and so lack navels. The Doctor is an exception.
- In the Eighth Doctor Adventures book The Blue Angel, an Ambiguously Human Alternate Universe version of the Doctor doesn't have one.
- Dejah Thoris from John Carter of Mars, being Martian, an egg-laying species, has no bellybutton.
- In The Barsoom Project, Martin Qaterliaraq is an Inuit shaman character in the Fimbulwinter Game. His lack of a navel is an early indication that his character was crafted from molded lava by the Raven, not born.
- In Robert A. Heinlein novel Glory Road Rufo taunts Igli, a construct, over the monster's lack of a navel. "It was plain the remark about bellybuttons had cut him to the quick. He didn't have one. Only reasonable, I suppose.".
- Though not a clone, and though the story isn't science fiction, the character Pilate Dead (the sister of the second Macon Dead) from Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon is said to be born without a belly button (her umbilical cord shriveled up and fell off, leaving smooth, hairless, scarless skin).
- Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments, being a warlock (half human/half demon), he has no bellybutton.
- In the Nightside books, Lilith is navel-less when she arrives, probably because she's an Eldritch Abomination who made the body for convenience's sake.
- Inverted in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, with Annabeth. Despite being born from her mom's mind she still has one.
- In Nights at the Circus, Winged Humanoid Sophie Fevvers claims she was hatched from an egg in an interview, and the Intrepid Reporter speculates that if she has a navel, she's lying. It turns out she doesn't have one.
- In The City and the Stars the people of Diaspar are created as adults and naturally lack bellybuttons.
- The Omen: In the novel-only sequels Omen IV: Armageddon 2000 and Omen V: The Abomination, it's said that Damien Jr. had no navel, which is confirmed at the end of book 5. It's because he was conceived through an act of sodomy and grew within his mother's intestine rather than a proper womb.
- In the William Tenn short story "Child's Play" a rather sad-sack lawyer (from the "present day", i.e., late 1940s) accidentally receives a "Bild-A-Man" kit from the future, an educational toy—-a sort of futuristic home chemistry set—-that allows children to create artificial living creatures, even including duplicate human beings. The protagonist eventually winds up making a human baby, only to realize (after it's too late to do anything about it) that he forgot to give the kid a navel.
- The in-vitroes from Space: Above and Beyond lacked standard belly-buttons. Instead, they had nipple-like bumps on the back of their necks from where the artificial placentas attached to them in the womb-tanks.
- On Mork & Mindy after M&M got married and had sex for the first time, Mork proved he had laid an egg by showing his navel — since he's an Orkan he doesn't have one from the natural gestation process. Other than all the times he'd shown his belly before that episode and we'd seen it.
- In The Brittas Empire, Gordon doesn't have a belly button after some plastic surgery following his return from the dead (It Makes Sense in Context, sorta)
- Luke Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures also lacks a navel, due to being created by the Bane.
- Sorry!: In the It's a Wonderful Plot episode, Timothy loses his belly button because "he was never born".
- The Charmed episode "Size Matters" has a demonic construct who demonstrates to Paige that he's not like ordinary people by showing her that he lacks a belly button.
- On the show Kyle XY, the fact that he has no belly button was what alerted the people who found him that he was not quite normal.
- Clone from the BBC3 series Clone, has this. Or doesn't have this. YOU KNOW.
- Due to Executive Meddling, Jeannie on I Dream of Jeannie was never allowed to show her belly button. Of course, it's entirely possible that as a genie, she didn't have one.
- In Chrono Trigger, at one point of the game your party is captured. Your team may, at one point, feign an illness of some kind to get out of their holding cell. Frog will pretend to have a hurting belly button. After the guard is fooled and taken care of, Frog will point out that amphibians (being hatched from eggs) don't have belly buttons.
- Mario appears to not have a bellybutton in Super Mario Odyssey, but it's hard to say if that's actually the case, or the waistband of his boxers is just covering it up.
- Weirdly zigzagged in Touken Ranbu as a result of Depending on the Artist: many swords are navelless, but many others do have navels despite being personifications of swords and thus not born from wombs.
- Claire Redfield in Resident Evil Code: Veronica has an outfit that shows her midriff. but she doesn't have a visible belly button.
- Strong Sad from Homestar Runner has a belly button... ...but it was created by Strong Bad's power drill.
- Blake in Volumes 1-3 of RWBY. However, this was actually because of an error in the animation software rather than actually being the case In-Universe, and from Volume 4 on she has a visible one, even in flashbacks to the V1-3 outfit.
- In Unsounded, the Bratty Halfpint Sette doesn't have a navel. Combined with her tail, lack of nipples, slow aging, and weird interactions with the Background Magic Field of the Khert, her status as human is questioned both by characters and the fandom.
- The Order of the Stick: Sabine, being a demon who was never "born" in the normal sense, doesn't have a belly-button (at least in her true succubus form).
- An episode of The Simpsons involves Homer's life being invaded by an army of clones of himself. The clones, predictably enough, lack belly buttons.
- An episode of American Dad! involves Steve and Snot cloning their high school's most popular girls so they can go with their clones to the prom. Stan only realizes that the girls are clones when he tells one of them to get a belly button ring and she responds that she doesn't have a belly button.
- The Powerpuff Girls were designed without belly buttons, seeing as how they were scientifically created as opposed to being born naturally. This was subverted in the cover design of a CD of pop songs in which the girls, adorned in pop starlet's attire, are drawn with belly buttons.
- One episode of VeggieTales featured an entire song about Mr. Lunt's lack of a belly button. Khalil then explained (in rap) that, as a gourd, his umbilical equivocal is on top of his head and that a prosthetic would be pointless.
- In Steven Universe, the Gems, being living rocks whose bodies are projections, lack navels. This can be seen in a few episodes where Garnet changes to clothes that show her abdomen ("Beach Party" and "Garnet's Universe") or anytime Lapis Lazuli shows up. Steven has his gem in place of a navel. In a flashback, we see that one of the first things Amethyst did upon meeting Greg was pull up his shirt to look at his belly-button, suggesting some curiosity about the concept on their part. When Steven's gem is temporarily removed, the part of his abdomen where it rested still has no belly button.
- In Melody Time, Pecos Bill never had a belly button shown on his belly. Not even when he was shirtless when he was a baby and when he was a kid.
- Czech Fashion Model Karolína Kurková (somewhat) famously has no navel. She's never disclosed exactly why, but her lack of a natural belly-button has given rise to accusations of over-airbrushing when she appears in photo spreads. Ironically, this has caused some photo editors to Photoshop one onto her photos, in order to avoid accusations of over photo-editing!
- Some laparoscopic surgical procedures use the belly button as a point of entry to keep any resulting scars from being conspicuous. Later overgrowth of skin as the entry-point heals may cause the patient's navel to shrink to almost nothing.
- Likewise, surgical repair of an umbilical hernia, or a rare congenital defect in which an infant's belly wall is incomplete at birth, may require the abdomen to be sutured shut, leaving a scar rather than a navel.
- Alfred Hitchcock had no navel due to surgery.
- Depending on anatomical configuration, parasitic twins may lack an independent umbilical cord during gestation, relying on their intact twin's bloodstream for survival.
- The Omphalos (bellybutton) Theory was a 19th C. argument that fossils, tree rings etc., were created as is by God to give the world the appearance of age, even though it was a recent creation. The name derives from the theory that, though logically Adam and Eve shouldn't have navels, they would have been created with them, to make them identical to their descendants.