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Belly buttons are at the site where the umbilical cord was attached to us as we developed inside our mothers. The same is true for all placental mammals.

Why are belly buttons on the stomach? Why didn't the placement end up somewhere else like the chest, the back, the head, etc.? Is it optimal for the umbilical cord to be near the intestines?

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  • $\begingroup$ While it doesn't answer your specific question, a really good book for this kind of question is Your Inner Fish, by Neil Shubin. $\endgroup$
    – mmesser314
    Jan 5 '16 at 6:13

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