Why Are Some People Born With Tails?

Unbeknownst to most of us, human DNA is absolutely full of now defunct information – and our bodies as a result are filled with useless parts that don’t do anything. You might be under the illusion that every part of your body should play an important role in helping you to survive, but the reality is quite different and actually you have many parts that are just a waste of space…

Vestigial Body Parts

Take the human foot for instance. Did you know that there’s a joint right in the middle of your foot that allows you to bend it like a Chimpanzee? Despite that fact, most of us actually can’t bend our feet in the middle because of thick ligaments that have developed on the bottom of the foot since we started to walk. Some people who have softer tissue there are able to bend our feed (try it), but for the rest of us that’s just one of many useless ‘bits’ of the body.

One of the most famous examples of such a ‘useless’ body part is the appendix. It has gradually become smaller, but as you know… it’s still there just doing nothing…

There’s more too. Did you know that you have a third eyelid that used to shut from the side like a lizards to increase moisture? Now it’s tucked away in the corner not doing anything, but you can still see it if you look closely. Goosebumps too are a hangover from when we had fur (they made our fur stand on end which could combat cold and also make us look bigger and tougher), while wisdom teeth were useful back when we ate a different type of diet.

The Vestigial Tail

But perhaps the most interesting vestigial body part is the tail. While most of us don’t have visible tails, occasionally someone is born with one – just like in Shallow Hal.

Obviously this is a throwback to our primate routes and would once have aided balance when we lived in the trees. And in fact what’s really interesting is that once upon a time you had a tail – while you were still inside the womb. Yes, when you’re still gestating, your DNA still informs your body to build a tail, but when you reach a certain stage in your development those cells are then given the command to ‘die off’. For most people, all that is left is a coccyx which is essentially the base of our tail, but for some people that never happens and they’re born with an actual tail.

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