Animals use their tails in a variety of ways. They provide a source of locomotion for fish, land animals use them to brush away flies, some animals use their tails for balance, etc. But when a human develops tail, thats just nature going wrong.
Human embryos normally have a prenatal tail that measures about one-sixth of the size of the embryo itself. As the embryo develops into a fetus, the tail is absorbed by the growing body. The developmental tail is thus a human vestigial structure.
Infrequently, a child is born with a “soft tail“, which contains no vertebrae, but only blood vessels, muscles, and nerves, although there have been several documented cases of tails containing cartilage or up to five vertebrae. Cases of babies with “tails” surface occasionally. Crowds converged on temples in India to see a baby born with a “tail” in 2001.
Many believed the boy was a reincarnated Hindu god. The boy, at one-year old when this report came out in early 2002, was named Balaji, another name for the monkey-faced god Lord Hanuman. The Indian baby’s “tail” was 10 centimeters long, and the boy was being exhibited in temples throughout India, where people paid to see him. Indian newspaper The Tribune said the boy’s grandfather showed journalists nine spots on the baby’s body, which is what Lord Hanuman supposedly had.
A man named Chandre Oram, who lives in West Bengal, a state in India, is famous because of his 33-centimetre (13 in) tail. It is not believed to be a true tail, however, but rather a case of spina bifida. Chandre Oram is an Indian tea estate worker who lives in Alipurduar district of Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. He is famous for having a long tail, which has made him an object of devotion to many, who believe him to be an incarnation of Hanuman. Oram was born on the date known as Rama Navami, which is the birthday of legendary Hindu King Rama who is considered to be an incarnation of God. According to the Ramayana, Hanuman was devoted to Rama, and helped him rescue his wife, Sita, who was being held captive by an evil king.
As a consequence of his apparent resemblance to Hanuman, Oram has been visited by large numbers of people who wish to receive his blessings. Some of his followers also report miraculous healings of severe ailments after touching his tail. Oram claims to enjoy other aspects of monkey-like behaviour, including jumping, climbing, and eating bananas. Oram has set up a shrine to honour Hanuman, on top of which there is a red silk flag, which is Hanuman’s symbol. The offerings he receives are given to the deity.
According to physicians the tail Oram has is not a real tail, but a congenital malformation known as spina bifida, in this case of the rare meningocele category. It is possible for human embryos to develop a real tail, as the genes which cause it still exist in many people. However, the probability of this gene expressing is very low: it can happen because of rare recessive gene coupling, or some form of mutation that brings the gene back to a dominant place. That is why very few cases have been recorded in the history of medicine. The presence of these kind of vestigial structures is known as an atavism. When a human embryo develops a true tail, it is located as a prolongation of the coccyx, just like the tail of a dog or a monkey. Oram’s tail emerges from his lumbar region, which is a clear sign that it is caused by split spine. The tail consists of a 13 inches (325 mm) long and 1 inch (25 mm) thick appendix to the bone of the spine. It is covered by lots of hair.
Oram has refused any operation to remove his tail. According to his family, it has become a part of him which he could not live without. However, this also has its costs, as he has been unable to settle down and raise a family of his own. He has reported that approximately twenty women have rejected offers of marriage because of his tail. He has said: “I have decided to marry the woman who accepts me and my tail. Or else, I’ll remain a bachelor like Hanuman.”
Examples of human tails