Wolverine has regenerated from his skeleton. He can return from even a single cell.

Cut off Wolverine's finger. A new finger will be grown from his body, but the dismembered finger will not be grown back into a full body. I want to know which types of cells are capable of regeneration to a full Wolverine and what decides it.

Something more: Blow up the body of Wolverine so that only his Adamantium skeleton is left. Now, cut this skeleton into two equal parts using Antarctic Vibranium. Which part of the skeleton would regenerate to the full Wolverine?

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    Curiously enough, if you extrapolate that information and exclude magic, theoretically you should get a new copy of Wolverine each time a cell leaves his body. That will teach him early on in life not to spit on the floor!
    – TLP
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 12:26
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    @IanPugsley Yes, and that's why its curious. Is there a telepathic link (i.e. magic) between his cells?
    – TLP
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 13:05
  • 12
    @TLP Perhaps his cells are quantum entangled. The moment any cell or group of cells begin to regenerate, all other physically separate groups will give up. Pure guesswork though.
    – HNL
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 13:29
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    @HNL Sounds like magic to me. But then again Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    – TLP
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 13:32
  • 9
    The lump that regenerates is whichever lump contains Wolverine's Luz bone.
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 15:20

9 Answers 9


I've never come across a canon answer to this question -- at least, I never heard of any evil scientist attempting to clone Wolverine.

But if we were to speculate, we can assume that the answer is related to how Wolverine recovers his memories and personality even after most of his brain is destroyed. I'm guessing that whatever part that receives the soul (the mind, the quantum entangled essence or whatever you might call it) of Wolverine will regenerate while all the other pieces will not.

  • Wolverine will regenerate while all the other pieces will not ~> Out of two parts of skeleton (mentioned in last paragraph of question) which one you'd say Wolverine?
    – user931
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 13:19
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    I'd say (again I'm guessing) it's random in such cases -- whichever piece that begins to regenerate first will preempt all the others.
    – HNL
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 13:24
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    X-23 was an attempt by an evil scientist to create a clone of Wolverine.
    – phantom42
    Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 5:05

During a fight, determining the fate of human-kind, Wolverine was killed by the guardian of the MacGuffin Orb they were trying to reach. The guardian was sloppy and a single drop of Wolverine's blood splattered the MacGuffin Orb. The magical essense of the Orb and Wolverine's healing factor regenerated an entire Wolverine, winning the challenge.

So, in essence, it is any small particle that the writer decides to use for story purposes.

  • :) That's true... but still, there exists some in-universe explanation. Writers are also under bound of some canonical presumptions.
    – user931
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 21:39

The problem to me has always been the bones. If his adamantium skeleton can be dismembered, such as getting a finger cut off, then wouldn't his body grow back the finger with just normal bone, and there would be an adamantium finger-bone lying on the ground? And if his skeleton can't be separated, then what holds it together? His skeleton is bonded with adamantium, but his cartilage is not -- otherwise, he'd be unable to move. Perhaps after every battle, he has to wander the battlefield, searching for his "real" bodyparts and chopping off the re-grown ones so he can put the adamantium ones back.

But more pertaining to the main question: I think there has to be some sort of over-consciousness (maybe his soul or quantum existence or what have you) that decides which part of his severed body continues to be the real him. Otherwise, he'd keep having to find ways to kill off the Wolverine clones with all-bone skeletons except for the index finger, etc. Kind of like the magician in The Prestige (ironically, played by Hugh Jackman) who had to keep killing off his clones in order for there to be only one.

  • 1
    Surviving instincts would probably also come into play: the part which is most likely to survive after regenerating will have a bigger chance to activate regeneration. Also: ew! (for the walking the battlefield and chopping bits off to replace them)
    – silvith
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 8:54

As you mentioned, if someone cuts off Wolverine's finger, his body will regrow the finger and the finger will not regrow a body. This suggests a two different possibilities - either the regeneration is tied to his vital organs and nervous system or the regeneration is tied to the larger mass.j

Given the mention of decapitation killing Wolverine, I'd say that suggests it is likely that regeneration would be tied to his vital organs and nervous system. An argument could be made that the issue would be that the larger body of mass (the head-less body) would have to regrow a head (which might be difficult/impossible), though, so it's definitely not definitive.

Your mention of an exact split I find somewhat implausible - it suggests that Wolverine would die if he were ever decapitated, but would somehow survive having his brain split down the middle? That being said, he's come back from worse, so it comes down to which side would better support life and regrow less vital organs. It's less work that his healing factor would have to do - I'm no doctor, but I'd probably guess his left side (for the inclusion of his heart).

  • 1
    RE: decapitation. You are referring to the Xavier Protocols, yes? I doubt it'll work. Like you say, he's come back from much, much worse.
    – HNL
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 13:27
  • Your 1st & 2nd paragraphs are digestible, but last one isn't. As @TLP has said.. why would other part refuse to regrow?
    – user931
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 13:57
  • 1
    There's obviously a point where something is not going to regrow - a finger doesn't, an arm wouldn't. Why are you assuming there's a point where both would regrow? You can't split someone in two perfectly - there are different amounts of mass and organs on each side of the body. One side has to win. Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 14:15
  • No.. no.. I am talking about the case when both parts have brain. Why would other part refuse to regrow?
    – user931
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 21:03
  • You're asking why the other part wouldn't. I'm asking why the other part would - typically, pieces cut off of people with healing factors don't regrow. Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 21:06

Well it's said in some that his healing factor is tied to his soul and he battles for life each time he would normally die. Wolverine has a lot of magical/supernatural back history so this sort of question doesn't really match up.


Wolverine's history demonstrates that he can regenerate from seeming nothingness, but only once at any given time. It can't be his body or his skeleton, or anything reasonable, for that matter. If it must be something explainable within the comic universe, then it must also be something supernatural or outside the realm of human understanding. This can be seen in any number of grave wounds he's suffered, including being nuked and having his adamantium removed by Magneto.

That is all we can gather from comics, film, and animation because that's all they've given us. The rest is up to the writers and artists that do or will control the future of our beloved anti-hero.

With that in mind, I am only able to offer what might be a way to fill that gap. This isn't speculation, it's me brainstorming as if I was tasked with filling the gap myself. Ahem.

Wolverine, in many ways, represents primal urges and determination. He has been aggressively protective of friends and savagely single-minded in attempts to destroy his enemies. His energy, his strength, his immortal endurance are a materialization of pure forces in reality. He stands as a coalescence of somethings eternal. The question, then, is whether this eternity is actual or artificial. Did these things come together and form Logan wittingly or as a deterministic result of natural forces, or was there an external intelligence behind it? Is The Wolverine a puppet, project, or prank spilt into our existence by others of unknown intent?

I'd better wrap this up. Dave expects a draft by 7.


If a chunk of Wolverine is severed from his body it does not clone him. His regeneration is a natural process of his body, and like other natural processes is most likely controlled by his endocrine system. Whatever chunk has the larger mass of pituitary glands is the portion that will regenerate. However without being able to consume mass to transfer into flesh, the chunk may need some assistance.

  • 1
    I'm unconvinced. Someone else claimed Wolverine can be regenerated from his skeleton (no endocrine system there!) or even from a single drop of his blood.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 0:05

I actually made a post that would answer this.


In the case of Wolverine being slashed at a joint, thereby losing that limb, it seems he DOES get the adamantium back, doesn't it?

If you buy my explanation, the particles of adamantium actually return to him or reform because he doesn't think about it. It's just supposed to be there. If he actually thought about it...

However, if you are going to go by the standard definition of Wolverine's abilities, then remember this. Wolverine's bones are not made of or coated in adamantium. When he was injected with the original "metallic resin", his body "digested" it and processed it into adamantium beta, which exists ONLY in Wolverine. This actually grows into and from his bones, and regenerates as long as he has sufficient adamantium in his body. Yes, technically he can be farmed for adamantium beta, but only a handful of Omega-level mutants can reforge set adamantium (like Magneto, or Proteus).

And no, without external intervention, Wolverine will never clone. No matter how you slice it (lol), there will always be on piece of Wolverine that has most of his brain, or mass. Removing and destroying his head will make his torso grow a new head. Slicing him in half perfectly would simply cause him to unconsciously choose a piece.

My explanation of his powers covers this.


If you were to sever his brain into 2 equal parts; It would depend on which part had the pituitary gland's anterior lobe. However, if the pituitary gland was severed or damaged, I'd have to say that without any magical hocus pocus, regeneration and or healing would be completely impossible.

  • 2
    Could you explain further why the Pituitary is so critical?
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 13:59
  • 2
    Any citation about your claim?
    – user931
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 17:51

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