Polydactyly & Syndactyly, Curious Congenital Anomalies Found in Humans and Cats

Plydactyly and syndactyly too many fingers and toes
Plydactyly and syndactyly too many fingers and toes | Source

There have always been strange human anomalies, mainly genetic, that pop up all around the world. Some examples might include conjoined twins, very tall peopls, or very small people. But the ones that have always fascinated me were Polydactyly and Syndactyly. These are both congenital defects that affect the fingers and toes of humans; in other words, people who are born with extra fingers and/or toes. It has been known to occur in the animal kingdom, as well. Polydactyly affects the fingers and toes, and Syndactyly causes the fusing or webbing of the digits.

I first started to take notice of this anomaly when I was reading a novel about Anne Boleyn. Evidently she had Polydactyly. It is believed that she had one extra digit on her right hand. Some say that after she had been beheaded, the executioner reached down, secretly chopped of her hand, and put it inside his clothing. After she had been taken away for burial, the hand was hidden and thereafter used for magical purposes. Unfortunately, both of these stories probably come from myths and legends down the ages. In 1876, after an exhumation of Anne Boleyn, they discovered that in fact her whole body was perfectly shaped, and her hands were devoid of any extra digits. She was 5' 3'' tall and very delicately built.

photos public domain
photos public domain
photos public domain
photos public domain

Polydactyly still in the news

The most common extra finger is on the side of the hand next to the ulnar, or little finger. it is not actually always a real looking finger. Sometimes it is just a small, thin piece of skin tissue, with a fingernail attached. But it has been known to be fully functional, and not only that, it may just be one of several extra fingers. Some of these fingers can be fused all the way up the side of the other nearest finger, or just partially fused.

On March 24, 2010, Fox News reported that a 6-year-old boy from China was born with 5 extra fingers and 6 extra toes—all together he had 31 fingers and toes. The unnamed child had an operation to remove the extra digits.


Polydactyly is caused by errors in fetal development. Syndactyly when you get webbed feet or hands, is caused by the fact that, when the baby is in the womb, the skin between toes and fingers that cause it to look webbed, should die away and form perfect toes and fingers, but for some reason this does not happen. It is not a problem and just normally runs in families. I have a couple of webbed toes, and so did my mother. Most of these traits are isolated and caused by an autosomal gene. This means it is not sex-linked i.e. male or female. So either your mother or father could carry it, and if, like me, my mother had webbed feet, then of course so did I. I like to be different!

Extra fingers polydactyly
Extra fingers polydactyly | Source

Multi Symptom disease

Sometimes the cause can be a bit more complicated. They can be just one of the abnormalities which occur when a baby is born with other more serious defects. Either mental or physical. Either caused in the womb, medicines that have been taken when pregnant, or toxins in the environment.

The more serious causes of Polydactyly, can be caused by the following diseases.

1. Ellis-van Creveld syndrome also known as Chondroectodermal dysplasia. This is an inherited condition caused by defects in two genes known as EVC and EVC2. The strange thing about this is that it is mainly seen within the Old order Amish population of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

1. Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome. This is a rare condition resulting in a defect of a gene that leads to a protein called a CREB binding protein going wrong. This is known as CREBBP. Some people with this condition are actually born without this gene. Anybody born with this condition suffer with the following symptoms.

  • Broad thumbs and toes
  • short in stature
  • distinctive facial features
  • mental problems

Trisomy 13, is another factor that can cause Polydactyly. It is when a persons body has three copies of a genetic material instead of the usual two, from chromosome 13. This is not an inherited disease it is usually caused by something happening in the womb. The DNA from chromosome 13 appears in other parts of the body. This causes the extra material to interfere with normal development.

Extra toes
Extra toes

Syndactyly or webbing of the feet or fingers

Syndactyly is usually just called webbing of the toes, where the skin is further up the toes joining one or more together. It can vary from a small amount of skin, or can be fused all the way to the top. It is usually inherited, but can be caused by other factors. Sometimes it will be fused by not only the skin, but also by bone. It can be a side effect of Cardiac problems when the child is born. But it is mainly just inherited from your parents, in exactly the same way as Polydactyly.

Polydactyly and Syndactyly cats.

For some strange reason, both of these syndromes have been found in cats. The greatest number of toes on a cat has been 32! this was reported in 1974. The male cat called 'Mickey Mouse' owned by a Mrs Renee Delgade of Westlake Village, California, was believed to have had something called double paws, where each paw is two, fused mirror image paws. Obviously, a Polydactyly cat has many paws, and a Syndactyly cat has less paws, as his paws are fused together. Now I bet you never knew that! I know I didn't! Evidently there is a breed of cat called a Maine cat that is bred to carry on having Polydactyly cats!

Polydactyly poody cats!

Famous People with Polydactyly

Gemma Aterton who plays agent Fields in the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, said ' It's my little oddity, people are really interested, but repulsed at the same time, but I am proud of it'.

She goes on to say, 'My dad had them, and my grandad, I feel we are one step ahead, a sign of things to come' She joked, 'We could do more stuff if we had extra fingers, faster texting, faster e-mailing, and better guitar playing'. She also added that she had been born with a number of deformities, including a crumpled ear.

Gemma Aterton

Antonio Alfonseca

Antonio is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher, who plays for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic league of Professional baseball. He also pitched in Major League Baseball for the Philadelephia phillies. he has an extra digit on each hand and foot.

Antonio Alfonseca
Antonio Alfonseca

Ashton Kutcher showing off his famous syndactyly toes

Marilyn Monroe

I couldn't leave this topic without mentioning the most well-known Polydactyly. For many years people believed that Marilyn was a Polydactyly, with six toes on one of her feet. However, it is now thought that this was just a myth, caused by a photo taken by Joseph Jasgur in March 1946. The photo appears to reveal an extra toe, but it is now believed to be only a trick of the light. As there has been no evidence to the contrary, Marilyn's extra toe has gone into myth and legend.

Marilyn's "extra" toe (it's only a trick of the light).

© 2010 Nell Rose

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Comments 107 comments

msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

Thank you, Nell. Well researched and well presented.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

So interesting and it does get my attention when I hear about it. Including the recent case in China. It probably happens more than we know and for too many reasons unknown.

Thanks for an informative yet intriguing hub!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Msorensson, thank you again for being so quick! I really appreciate it. I am glad you like it. cheers nell

Hi, BkCreative, thanks for reading it. I suddenly got the interest in it when I saw Gemma Aterton on TV the other night. She was talking about it, and I thought it sounded interesting. thanks nell

"Quill" 6 years ago

Hi Nell as always you have a way of giving us the best...thank you for all the hard work and the effort in putting this are special Girl...

Hugs and Blessings

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Wow, Nell, that is something interesting. Thank you for a well research and written hub. You can be proud of it.

fishtiger58 profile image

fishtiger58 6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

Very interesting hub Nell. I learn something new every day.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Wow! Talk about "unique hub"! Still- somehow I feel odder than these folks. Thanks Nell!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Quill, I am glad you liked it. I saw something on the TV the other night, and wham out came the notebook and I couldn't stop writing! ha ha my family think I am mad! thanks again nell

Hi, Hello hello, thanks for reading it, I always appreciate your kind comments.and I am glad you liked it. Nell

Hi, fishtiger, I always try and find something just a little bit different. If I spot something strange, I sink my teeth straight in, and don't let go until it has finished! hee hee. cheers nell

Hi, Mickey, I know just how you feel! LOL I may be a lot of things, but one of them 'aint normal' ha ha thanks again nell

Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

This is very interesting, and you've put all this information together very well! Thanks!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

The craziest thing ever - I know someone who had that happen to his little girl. I always say these days - every time someone has a perfect little someone, be it human or in the animal kingdom - what a gift!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Rose, glad you liked it. thank you for reading it. cheers nell

Hi, Audrey, I expect this is quite a common thing, but not many people talk about it. It is just that when people don't have them removed that we know about them. Or in the case of Gemma, above, talking about it on TV. And you are so right, whenever someone has a baby, we always count the fingers and toes first. Thanks again, nell

valeriebelew profile image

valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

Interesting write, Nell, and good to have you back. I rather wondered where you had been. This is an interesting topic for me, since I research different cat breeds quite a bit. I have noticed that many mutations end up being new breed preferences. Perhaps we should learn something from this typical occurance. Thanks for writing this.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Valerie, I am glad that you liked it. Yes they do seem to make mutations into a breed of their own. It is like the manx cat, that lives on the Isle of Man, just of the coast of western England. These cats do not have a tail. They are specifically known to this Island. thanks nell

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

Hi girl, this reminds me of my brother, he was probably in his twenties when for some reason his wife brought up the fact his thumbs looked like big toes and I went to look and although I would never do another soul that way I had to keep going to look and laugh, big toes on your hands! He didn't mind though, probably all his older brothers had put him through the ringer on that one until it was old by now.

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I had no idea it was as common as it is... interesting!!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Pollyannalana, lol that is really funny. Maybe his toes looked like thumbs? I have got funny feet, apart from the web toes, my big toe on each foot bends up like a mountain! I think it was because I did a lot of ballet when I was small, maybe it is just me!! ha ha thanks again nell

Hi, carolina muscle, yes it's funny how many people do have it. it would be interesting to see if they were all related going back hundreds of years. you never know! thanks again nell

jjmyles profile image

jjmyles 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

What an interesting hub! well done. I wasn't aware of oll the causes of these so called imperfections. It is our imperfections that make us so much more interesting.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, jjmyles, thanks for reading it,I quite agree with you, that's what makes everyone different and special. thank you for stopping by. nell

cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago

Hi Nell, what an interesting subject. I may be syndactyly myself as my toes look kinda funny, so does my dads’. I think this is nothing to bother about and if you could put an extra finger or toe to a good cause then would actually be great.

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

Something I find odd is most peoples little toe next to the big one is longer than the big toe. Mine is not and I am so glad, but it is with so many that must be the normal????

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, cameciob, I think most people have funny feet. I don't think anyone is happy with their feet! lol, that is why I always cover mine up! thanks again nell

Hi, Polly, i couldn't tell you if it is normal as my big toes are really bendy! lol I think the next toe is longer because it is usually flatter, maybe? thanks again nell

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Nell, I was so disappointed to read that Anne Boleyn did not have those extra fingers, not sure why, but some of those myths are just plain cool. My cat, Banjo, is polydactyl, has an extra toe on each foot. His front feet look like hands. We should have called him mittens.

Oh, and what Pollyanna said up there? I have read that they can tell a Neanderthal skeleton foot because that second toe is so much longer than the great toe.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Dolores, so you have a polydactyl cat? wow, I didn't even know about them until I suddenly got interested in this subject. When I mentioned it to my brother, he said I must be stupid! lol I think I read that somewhere about the Neanderthal toes. Thank goodness mine are not like that then! ha ha but seriously that is really interesting. They used to say that Neanderthals never mixed with other human species but maybe they did. We misunderstood them so much. they used to say that they were backward and not intelligent, but now studies have shown that, not only were they intelligent but also very gentle people. that is why they were wiped out, because they were not aggressive enough to other human species. So the vicious ones won it seems. thanks again nell

mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

A Vet's Nurse I used to work with had a ginger polydactyl cat called "Mr Fingers". Sadly he was run over and killed when only a couple of years old, but he sure was cute. This hub was a great read and I really enjoyed finding out more about people who have this trait, and the photos were amazing.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, misty, how sad about Mr Fingers, as I have said above, it never even dawned on me that cats had this as well as humans. I always thought that Anne Boleyn had it, and was quite disappointed that the stories weren't true. thanks nell

Joshua Kell profile image

Joshua Kell 6 years ago from Arizona

Hi Nell, Great and interesting hub. The first thing I thought of when I saw the six fingered guy, was the Nephilem (1/2 human, 1/2 'god' hybrids) of Biblical legend; like Goliath and Og, who were said to have 6 fingers and six toes. It would be a trip if some of these folks condition could be a genetic throwback, from ancient times. This has also been mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and you can see that the old gods, and their children had six digits in a lot of Sumerian art. Just an absract thought, I didn't mean to get off the subject. Take care, and thanks a million!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Joshua, thanks for the extra info. That is fascinating. I never knew about the Nephilem having 6 fingers and toes. Or the epic of Gilgamesh mentioning it as well. I love these sort of links, and as you say, maybe they are throwbacks to these people. Now I have to go look it up! ha ha you started me on something there! thanks nell

getmyback 6 years ago

You never cease to amaze me

this is what hubs should be

thank you


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Nell, another well written hub. I always find myself coming back. lol

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, billY, thanks for reading it, I just got interested after seeing Gemma on Tv, and thought, wow, maybe other people have this, but I didn't realise that cats had it!thanks nell

Hi, Granny, thank you again, I really appreciate it. Nell

ralwus 6 years ago

Most interesting Nell. You put a lot of work into this one. I have seen cats with extra toes. I have a cloven soul, I'm Gemini.

CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Fascinating Hub, Nell. I had a friend at College who was born with an extra finger on each hand. She had them removed when she was a toddler, but you could still see the scars and where her hand was slightly broader where they had been removed from.

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Nice job on this hub, very interesting and well researched. My daughter was born with an extra digit, to the right of her thumb. That was my first introduction to this. I had it surgically removed when she was old enough and when other children became too curious.

Great Job,


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, ralwus, I must have one too! I am also a Gemini! 18th june. 19 blah blah blah lol I had heard of people with too many fingers and toes, but not cats. This taught me something about it too. thanks for reading it. Nell

Hi, CmHypno, Isn't it funny how common it is? I never realised that before. I suppose, as you say, most people have them removed when they are young. Thanks again nell

Hi, Sage, thanks for reading it. I didn't realise that it was so common and normal to have this. Maybe back in the past, people did have an extra finger on each hand. Maybe over the years as we developed as humans, it wasn't necessary any more. one day we may find this out. thanks again nell

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Interesting hub Nell and well presented. I enjoyed the read and the photos too!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi Green Lotus, thanks for reading it, and I am glad you liked it. I did it really because I got fed up with trying to find a decent hairstyle! thanks again nell

Kathryn LJ 6 years ago

Facinating hub, a good read, with plenty of photo's which actually added to the hub as opposed to so many others I've read which just seem to stick them in any old how, what ever the subject. I've learnt a lot!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Kathryn, thanks for reading it. I don't usually add loads of photos but I got carried away a bit this time! lol I am glad you liked it. cheers nell

pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

This was very interesting. Aren't the cats on the Hemingway estate Polydactyly and Syndactyly cats? I thought I read that somewhere, and it's why he left his estate to them. There are several generations of the cat living on the site. I truly enjoyed reading this, job well done.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, pmccray, this is really interesting, I have never heard of the Heminghway estate. I will have to go and check it out. thanks for the info. and for reading it. Nell

Ron 6 years ago

On your list of latest hubs I saw this one's title and it was just driving me crazy that I could not remember what polydactyly meant. I'm glad I did. This is such a fascinating well-researched article. This topic so well illustrates all the factors genetic and otherwise that influence the body and its development.

BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 6 years ago

I have seen people with this condition but didn't know it has a name. Nice article.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Ron, nice to see you, thanks for reading it. I got interested in this when I was watching a TV programme with Gemma Aterton, the bond girl, in it. She started talking about the fact that she was born with it, and straight away I thought, There's another hub! I like anything strange or mysterious, whether in the human world or the psychic. I have to get to the bottom of it, so to speak! thanks again nell

Hi, BeatsMe, thanks for your nice comments, glad you liked it, cheers nell

mandyxapa333 6 years ago

My son was born with 5 fingers and 4 thumbs. A very big shock - but I love him soooooooooooo much. He has had many operations - and was doing quite well. But, since we went into witness protection - the care he previously received - and I was promised would continue - has not been forthcoming. Now, as he is too old, any further treatment would not be of any benefit - so does he now suffer in silence?

mandyxapa333 6 years ago

It was 5 fingers and 4 thumbs on each hand

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, mandy, thank you for reading it. I am not sure of the stage that he has got too, but maybe when he is older? it is such a shame that he had all those operations and then fate took a turn, and now they haven't kept to their word. I hope it all works out for you and your son. thank you again nell

GracieLake profile image

GracieLake 5 years ago from Arizona

Great info here! My step son has webbed toes, and while we've researched it a bit, you've added way more background to this puzzle than I was aware of.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, Gracie, I have webbed toes too! lol that's what started me off looking! there must be some great Genes working on us! ha ha

Dusty44 5 years ago

Very interesting to read your piece on this. I think myself and my family are probably quite unique as to the amount of us who are effected with polydactyly. Myself, I was born the youngest of 3 children and I was born with six toes on each foot and also have a very broad thumb and webbed toes also. My two older sisters did not have any extra digits. I have 3 children and the eldest had 12 fingers and 12 toes, the middle one had 12 toes and the youngest had 12 fingers and 12 toes. The younger two also have very broad thumbs and one has had operations to stop the bones growing on one side of the branch. All the extra digits were removed when we were all very young, however my Father was born with 12 toes way back in the days when there was not much in the way of anaesthetics and his parents allowed Doctors to remove only one of his 12 toes, and he went through the rest of his life with 11 toes. Although my sister had no extras herself, 2 of her 3 children, my niece and nephew both had extra digits, and my niece also has 3 children of which I think 2 were born with extra toes and fingers! Quite a lot for the one family I would say. How I would love to actually find out which branch in my family tree this descended from.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, Dusty, that's a fascinating story! wow! and I thought my family were unique with my mum and me having webbed feet and hands! lol it would be good to see if you can trace your family tree to find the original person who started all this, I would imagine its because the births should have been twins maybe, but got drawn together in the womb, and one somehow disappears, maybe you should look into, thanks for reading, cheers nell

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

Wow how interesting- great hub.

Baileybear 5 years ago

wow 8 toes on each foot

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York

I bet PT Barnum looked for these people! Interesting subject. Voted up.

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

Voted up and interesting, Nell. Wow...didn't know this existed in such a wide array. Though, admittedly, the 6 digits per hand aren't as noticeable if they're all formed correctly in conjunction with the other fingers.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

Very well researched, indeed! Great job. I have heard of and seen polydactyl kitties. They are just as sweet as any other cat. (Can you tell I love cats?) ;-)

I've never personally known anyone with either condition.

Very interesting--voted up!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, Silver Fish, glad you liked it, and thanks for reading!

Hi, Baileybear, yes, must be really uncomfortable! thanks so much nell

Hi, tillsontitan, yes your right! he probably did, and many other showmen like him too, thanks again, nell

Hi, kitty, yes it wouldn't be as noticeable, I expect a lot of countries still have this problem but the people can't get medical help for it, thanks

Hi, DzyM, I think the cats are gorgeous! even if they had ten feet! ha ha thanks again nell

lumarie profile image

lumarie 5 years ago from Puerto Rico

Very interting never red anyone write about this. My toes, the two in the middle, are like Astons but more skin. I don't know anyone in the family who has them. My pops used to say that's why I ran fast.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, lumarie, thanks for reading, I have webbed toes and my mum used to say I would be a good swimmer! lol

Baileybear 5 years ago

I just read in that early fossils had 8 digits, not 5

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, Baileybear, is that humans or animals? amazing isn't it? thanks for the info, nell

Baileybear 5 years ago

humans are animals, so both. Early ancestor fossils had 8 digits & during evolution lost some digits. Polydactyl is a throw-back, much like human tails

Baileybear 5 years ago

apparently the extra toes in cats are opposable and some cats can use them to manipulate objects. Any unusual cats were destroyed in medieval europe because of witchcraft superstitions

Baileybear 5 years ago

early 4-limbed aquatic animals had up to 8 toes on each limb

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, Baileybear that's amazing, I never realised that we were throwbacks, I have the webbed toes, my feet are actually more than that! lol I have a really bent big toe on each foot that never straightens out! I might have known that witchcraft superstitions wiped out the cats, what a shame. 8 toes on aquatic animals? I shall have to go and check out your links, thanks so much!

Baileybear 5 years ago

I've listed a few atavisms (throwbacks - expression of ancient genes) in my hub

You wrote a hub on Julia Pastrana - her condition is throwback too

when they wiped out nearly the entire cat population, the rat population exploded, assisting the spread of black plague which wiped out huge chunk of human population

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, Oh of course! the rats! yes its coming back to me now, and thanks again, I will be over shortly to read your evolution hub, thanks again nell

dingyskipper profile image

dingyskipper 5 years ago from Northamptonshire

There are a tribe of people somewhere almost all have extra digits, sorry cant remember where I saw this

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, dingyskipper, Wow fascinating! I shall have to go and search see if I can find them on the internet somewhere, thanks!

Lulu 5 years ago

elo my name is lulu, And i would just like to say hi to everyone! (:

meha 5 years ago

i wonder how it would feel to have this

bryan 5 years ago

this is amazing , to see people like this

hazel may 5 years ago

me have both! polydactyl and syndactyl.. maybe i am the only one who have this in the whole wide world. amazing! it was not featured in the article above. am proud of it.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, hazel, I have webbed toes! lol! thanks for reading, cheers nell

Sandy 4 years ago

My brother (who is in perfect health) has 2 web toes on both feet. Now my son newborn has little nubs next to his pinky on both hands . They are just hanging on by a very thin piece of skin. Could the baby have inherited this from our side of the family?

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi, Sandy, thanks for commenting, its possible, it does seem to be genetic, I have webbed feet and so did my mum, but my brother hasn't got anything like that, so it seems likely that you new son has inherited it, and congrats on your baby! don't worry about it at all as its perfectly natural, and if it doesn't bother your son then its fine, maybe when he's older if he wants them sorted out it should be fine, thanks again nell

Sandy 4 years ago

Hi Nell, thanks for your response. It helped!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi, Sandy, glad it helped, and thanks for replying, nell

cynthia peters 4 years ago

I was born with 6 fingers a double thumb on each hane the other thumb had no nail on it. I had 6 toes on each foot and webbing in between thumb and index finger and webbing between four toes on feet

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi, cynthia, thanks for reading about polydactyly, that is really interesting, thanks for sharing, nell

Chris 4 years ago

Don't think Anne Boleyn was five inches, three feet tall! HA!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Ooops! lol! thanks Chris!

Harry 4 years ago

Hi! Our baby on each foot has extra wide big toes that although look normal, in the inside have two sets of bones in parallel. Also each big toe nail has a gap in the middle, and looks like it's two nails on the same toe! You can also feel two bones by touching the tip of the toes. Anyone know what this is called and where I can read about it?

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Harry, thanks for reading. I would imagine it is under the same heading as the above article. I think whenever anyone gets added toes or fingers it probably is caused by the same sort of genetic abnormality, but I am not sure, maybe look through the lists on google or just write in the search engine part of the paragraph you have written, you will probably find it that way, good luck and thanks!

cloverleaffarm profile image

cloverleaffarm 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

Very interesting. I knew cats could be "double pawed", but I never realized people could have extra digits. I found this while looking for info on my kitty. She has 24 toes in all, and I knew that was "odd". Thanks for all the great info.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi clover, Wow! toes? bless her! lol! yes people can have extra digits too, and of course webbed feet like me! lol! thanks for reading, cheers nell

valerie 4 years ago

my little girl was born with a xtra lil toe she is 5 and will go under surgeries this year to get it removed i had her at a young age and went with wht the first doctor told me she fine she doesn't need it removed but she at the point were all shoes hurt her and her foot also got wider but just waiting on thr ok to get her toe removed and well reading all of this helped me learn some more about Polydactyly so thank u very much :)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi valerie, yes I totally understand that the shoes hurt her, I am glad you are getting her toe removed she will be so much more comfortable. I have funny feet, lol! my toes are webbed and my big toes are bent at a rather strange angle so I have trouble wearing high heels for example. Thank you so much for your comment, its great to get such wonderful feedback on an article that I have written, good luck and take care, nell

kitschpainter 4 years ago

Hi Nell - I've always been interested in this subject since my son was born with vestigal extra digits....but I do want to point out that one of your images (which I've seen in other places) is not real but photographically manipulated. The ones of the babies and the cats are legit, but the adult male hand (2978145_f520.jpg) is not. If you look carefully you can see the shadow at the base of the ring finger(s) are identical, and there is a slight break in the contour of the hand on the right side.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks kitschpainter, I will go and change it when I have time, thanks so much for pointing it out. Is your son going to have them removed or are they no trouble? thanks nell

Cathy Fidelibus profile image

Cathy Fidelibus 3 years ago from NJ

Another great hub!

Who would have thought Marilyn Monroe had a sixth toe. I had a child hood friend with six toes. Now I know it's called Polydactyly and more common than I thought.

Voted up and shared.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Cathy, they thought she had but she didn't in the end, but yes its fascinating isn't it? thanks!

Educateurself 3 years ago

Wow I haven't seen this before. Thanks for sharing.

Lesleysherwood 3 years ago

I did not know this condition existed to this degree. I always thought it was tiny growths, not whole fingers and toes. Wow, thank you for doing all this research, brilliant hub.

dingyskipper profile image

dingyskipper 3 years ago from Northamptonshire

I have just remembered as a child I knew someone with an extra knucle in both hands but no adjoined fingers

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Thanks so much Lesley, it is a strange but fascinating anomaly isn't it? thanks for reading, nell

Hi dingy, that sounds interesting, amazing isn't it how we can get these anomalies, glad you liked it, nell

drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 3 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

Hey Nell Rose long time no see! lol.. Very interesting Hub! Very nice! I voted-up. I have been busy Counseling but I am back! Come visit me when you have some time. God Bless you!!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

HI drpastor, thanks for reading, and yes I will be over shortly, great to see you! 3 years ago

I have polydactlt and syndactyly I have some webbed fingers, extra toe on my big toe and had extra (tags) fingers. My mom had full webbed fingers and middle toes webbed and both my daughters have extra fingers and toes on both hands And my baby has webbed fingers. It's on the seventh chromosome on the seventh gene. My family was in a study and there's a medical book. Went to Shriners hospital for surgery. I also had a polydactly cat.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

That's fascinating Shaylene! I have the webbed toes just like my mother, she always said we would be good swimmers! lol! Its amazing just how many people do have polydactyly and syndactyly I am sure it was probably quite common in the past and of course nobody could do anything about it, thanks for reading, nell

Harry 2 years ago

I just had a baby two days and it was born with the exact same toes you describe. Your post is two years old but have you learned anything more about your babies toes ?

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Harry, I didn't have a baby with it, but knew someone who did. evidently the doctors told her that it was fine, just an anomaly and the baby could have the extra couple of toes, outside ones removed when she was older, congrats on your new baby! that's wonderful, thanks for reading, nell

gina 2 years ago

My apologies, I was referring to Harry's post: extra wide big toes with parallel bones and gap that looks like two nails. Has anyone seen or heard of this? I am driving myself crazy. Thanks, new mom

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

That's okay gina, I understand now, I am sure Harry has probably forgotten that he commented on here. I hope you find what you are looking for, and the docs are pretty good at understanding it these days, nell

mrjinx 19 months ago

If u take a closer look at the photos that you can find on the internet about Marilyn Monroe, you will notice something strange in them; it almost seems like she did not want to show the fingers and toes on her hands and feet as they are almost always hidden from view either because she is clenching her fist or wearing shoes, or because these are partially obstructed by the pose she had on those images. Perhaps it's my imagination, but when you explode those images at the hand/feet area, it looks like she might have had extra fingers on her hands just by looking at the anatomy of her hand (a bigger hand, and increased distance or space between knuckles to accommodate for more fingers, for example). I am not accusing or making fun of anyone; I'm just making an observation about something i heard and just wanted to note what i found.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 19 months ago from England Author

Thanks mrjinx, yes you could have a point, its not something I thought of but now you got the interest going! lol! I am going to take a look round the web, thanks for reading, nell

Yuri05 12 months ago

I have syndactyly on both of my feet and am deeply ashamed of them to the point i will never, ever take my socks off when people are around, including my family and friends. I wish I had normal looking feet and have thought of having them fixed in the past, but eventually decided it was not worth the effort and the money.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 12 months ago from England Author

Sorry to hear that Yurio, I am sure it doesn't even show very much, and never ever be ashamed of yourself, you are unique, and what a great talking point! see it as a positive thing, okay? thanks for reading, nell

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