A baby boy has been born in Brazil with a 12cm ‘true human tail’ with a ball-shaped growth on the end.
Human babies do indeed grow an embryonic tail while in the womb, at around the four to eight week gestation point. However, this is usually reabsorbed back into the body, resulting in the formation of the tailbone.
However, under exceptionally rare circumstances, this tail will continue to grow. Approximately 40 children in the history of humanity have been documented as having been born with ‘true, boneless, tails’, which are ‘composed of adipose and connective tissue, blood vessels, muscle and nerve fibres’.
This doesn’t include the pseudo-tail, a lumbosacral protrusion made up of fat, cartilage and elements of bone located at the bottom of the spinal cord which is usually associated with spinal abnormalities.
As detailed in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery Case Reports, the unidentified infant was delivered vaginally at 35 weeks without complications.
An ultrasound scan revealed no concerns regarding the tail being attached to the child’s nervous system. The tail was removed at Albert Sabin Children’s Hospital in the city of Fortaleza, in northeast Brazil, at some point prior to January 2021.
Post-surgery analysis found that the tail was comprised of boneless tissue with the 4cm ball on the end made up of fat and embryonic connective tissue.
It is unclear whether the tail was removed as it was causing the newborn pain or discomfort, or whether his parents requested it. Details of his recovery have also not been given.
As per this journal article:
The presence of a true human tail in neonates is a rare congenital anomaly and should be investigated through physical and radiological examinations in a comprehensive manner.
Due to the common ectodermal origin between the skin and the central nervous system, it is essential that the pediatrician or pediatric surgeon investigate the presence of hidden spinal dysraphism in patients with suspected skin lesions, as they may be the only visible abnormality and early diagnosis can prevent evolution to severe neurological changes.
Human beings lost their tails when they diverged from monkeys approximately 20 million years ago. In some cultures, humans born with tails are believed to be holy and worthy of worship.
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Journal of Pediatric Surgery Case Reports
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