Dr. David Menton – The Human Tail and Other Tales of Evolution

In the May 20, 1982, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Fred Ledley, M.D. presented a clinical case report titled “Evolution and the Human Tail.” Ledley’s report concerned a baby born with a two-inch long fleshy growth on its back, bearing a superficial resemblance to a tail. Ledley strongly implied that this growth (called a caudal appendage) was essentially a “human tail,” though he admitted that it had virtually none of the distinctive biological characteristics of a tail!

All true tails have bones in them that are a posterior extension of the vertebral column. Also, all true tails have muscles associated with their vertebrae, which permit some movement of the tail. Ledley conceded that there has never been a single documented case of an animal tail lacking these distinctive features, nor has there been a single case of a human caudal appendage having any of these features. In fact, the caudal appendage Ledley described is merely a fatty outgrowth of skin that wasn’t located in the right place on the back to be a tail! Still, Ledley saw his caudal appendage as providing compelling proof for the evolution of man from our monkey-like ancestors. He said that

even those of us who are familiar with the literature that defined our place in nature (Darwinism)—are rarely confronted with the relation between human beings and their primitive ancestors on a daily basis. The caudal appendage brings this reality to the fore and makes it tangible and inescapable.

To continue reading Dr. Menton’s article, click here.

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