In the ultra (in?)famous ChestBurster scene we were introduced to the monstrous Xenomorph. But why the chest?

Why didn't the alien simply claw up through the esophagus?
It would have been far easier than breaking through the breast-bone.

A out-universe answer will suffice provided it's sourced from production or direction, or special effects etc.

  • 12
    Well, they're called "chestbursters." For them to burst out of the neck or stomach would constitute false advertising. – Ryan Veeder Dec 15 '15 at 4:23
  • Valid point @RyanVeeder – yondaime008 Dec 15 '15 at 8:57
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    Did you not see the film? Because it's wicked cool – Valorum Dec 15 '15 at 9:00
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    One does not simply claw up through the esophagus. – Paul D. Waite Dec 15 '15 at 9:43
  • 1
    "Esophagus burster" doesn't have the same ring... – Thaddeus Howze Dec 15 '15 at 16:31

It's a primal creature whose has just emerged to life inside a hosting body. It hasn't any anatomy knowledge about the host, nor can sense if there's any "easy" path to outside. In fact, Aliens parasite a lot of different life forms, as we've seen during the saga and in other canon parts, so there isn't any type of genetic memory about the correct pathway to emerge from host body.

So... what a creature like that will do when waking to life inside a squeashy unknown environment? Just burst outside through the first direction it feels, as it's enough strong and capable to easily tear flesh and bone.

The fact that movies and comics depicts always the little monsters bursting out of the chest is merely dramatic, as they would probably emerge by any direction.

  • 1
    Extremely good point. Aliens parasite a lot of different life forms we cannot assume it knows anything about the host's body (human in this case). Wish I could +2 this. – Athena Widget Dec 15 '15 at 11:33
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    emerge by any direction, now that I think about it some more, there is a one direction that may not go over so well with the viewing audience! – Athena Widget Dec 15 '15 at 11:43
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    @AthenaWidget: C.f. Dreamcatcher's "shit-weasels" – FuzzyBoots Dec 15 '15 at 12:44
  • it might actually be instinct driven to the point that it goes yeah its hard here but its soft there, so lets try there. – Eumel Dec 15 '15 at 13:11
  • Yes, or maybe it's capable of perceiving someway temperature differences between body host and exterior. The fact is that we don't know how it chooses it's exit path, but we cannot assume there is a fixed one – Bardo Dec 15 '15 at 13:19

To me it looks like it actaully passes through a spot right beneath the rib-cage and not through the bone. Also he still breathes later in the video which means his lungs didn´t collapse which in turn supports that it in fact didnt destroy the rib-cage.

Also another point, you cant see any bones, if they would get broken from the inside you should be able to see them.


It's the most direct route to freedom

While climbing up the oesophagus would make more sense, there are a few things to consider that make bursting through the chest a better option.

Chestbursters grow incredibly quickly, and can vary in shape and size. They could very well not fit in a human throat, and then have to claw their way out if they get stuck, making the whole exercise a waste of time:

Growth of the Chestburster is rapid; the creature's signature inner jaw is known to form within an hour of implantation

They soften up the chest cavity before bursting through (what a gross sentence), so it's not an especially hard task:

When fully developed, the Chestburster releases enzymes that soften the bone and surrounding tissues of the host's chest cavity to facilitate its egress, before finally forcing its way through the sternum.

But of course, there's always the non-canon Facebursters from Alien 2: On Earth

  • ...and then have to claw their way out if they get stuck... I like your thinking! It gets more disgusting with each answer. – Athena Widget Dec 15 '15 at 14:05

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