The strange saga of Zac Efron's extra nipples begins in my email inbox, where a letter from a publicist landed this afternoon. Dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee wants the world to know that Zac Efron has a third—and possible fourth—nipple. Her publicist included a photo with an arrow pointing to a Wahlbergian speck on Efron's chest. How have we never noticed this before?

From: Katherine Rothman <[redacted]>
Date: Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 12:49 PM

You are welcome to use the images and the quotes provided you credit our client Dr. Sandra Lee, Upland, CA board certified dermatologist. Interviews can be arranged as well.

Dr. Sandra Lee is an Upland, California board certified dermatologist. She explains that, "It is not widely known, but about one in 50 women and one in 100 men have a third nipple. This goes by several names besides "third nipple". It is a supernumerary nipple, accessory nipple, pseudomamma, polythelia, or polymastia. It is often not entirely developed as a fully functioning nipple. Sometimes it can be mistaken for a mole. The third nipple usually has no clinical significance as long as nothing else is wrong."

Dr. Lee further notes that, "They are not properly formed like normal nipples and can usually be found on an imaginary ‘milk line' between the armpit and inner thigh. If you feel uncomfortable about yours, it's probably best to speak to your dermatologist or general practitioner to determine whether surgery is needed." [...] Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg has decided against going under the knife to remove his extra teat, because he's grown to love it.

Supernumerary nipples are generally aligned along "mammary lines." (Think of a female dog.) And so, when a man like Zac Efron has nipple-hued specks located symmetrically along his mammary lines, there is a strong possibility that they are "superfluous" nipples. As if male nipples weren't superfluous enough already.

But are Efron's chest specks really nipples? They could also dimples between his muscles. In Buzzfeed's "25 Best Pictures of Zac Efron Shirtless" gallery, the maybe-nipples are visible in images 2, 6, 7, 10, 24, and 25. But where are they in images 1, 11, and 23? Shouldn't maybe-nipples be consistent than that? Is Zac Efron a multi-nippled changeling?

A brief Google search reveals that, though superfluous nipple bloggers (yes, they exist!) have speculated about Efron's nipples, the chatter has not broken into the mainstream. Until now! Thank you, Dr. Sandra Lee of Upland, California and PR emailer Katherine Rothman, for alerting us to this egregious blind spot in modern discourse.

[Efron images via Pacific Coast News and Bauer-Griffin, Wahlberg via KMR Communications, mammary lines via MandyPeachBiol3500]