USAmma--this idea had been raised in the other lotus birth thread previously.
Obviously, this brings into question the idea of "natural". It's hard to argue that something is natural....however I do really believe it is more gentle.
I would say that just because other mammals do not do it does not mean it's not beneficial to babe and family. We are not in the wild, in comparison to other mammals, as you pointed out. no predator is going to smell our blood, etc.
I think that there are some monkeys that actually do this.. but i can't remember where i read this. i will post if i come up with it.
it is basically just a furthering of the idea of gentle treatment. no violence done to the child, giving them the imprint of being able to let things go on their own, not being rushed by their parents.
Many believe that it is a subtle energy we are dealing with.
also, this brings into question the "honor" of the father cutting the cord...but as i said, the other lotus birth tread had extensive response to this idea so i won't repeat.
as far as it being new, Jeannine Parvati Baker started talking about lotus birth around the late 70's I believe. I have no idea prior to that.
and all i can say, that for our family, it was amazing and spiritual time. it did have it's difficulties, but i don't think i'd ever be able to cut or have cut a baby's cord in the future. and i have to say, ds seems to have benefited from it, as did we.