A Rudimentary Tail


A DAY or two ago a curious and interesting abnormality came under my notice, which, I think, deserves mention. I was examining the back of a girl, aged about eight, when I saw over the lower part of the sacrum, in the middle line of the back, a small hole, that, on the first glance, seemed like the opening of an old sinus. I was told, however that it had been present since birth, and I then looked at it more carefully. It had a direction downwards and somewhat forwards, and consisted of a reflection of the skin entering a more or less circular depression, about ¼inch in diameter, and about ¼ inch deep. Not quite ¼inch below its lower border could be felt the pointed extremity of the coccyx, which, instead of having its usual form, curved backwards and rather upwards. On stretching the skin downwards, that portion of it entering the depression or hole was raised, coming out like the top part of the finger of a glove which had been pressed down into the lower part, and a small prominence, about the height of the diameter of a pea, stood up from the surface; and this little sheath was found to cover and exactly fit the sharp end of the coccyx. The resemblance this bore to a rudimentary tail was sufficiently striking.

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DUNLOP, A. A Rudimentary Tail. Nature 14, 450 (1876). https://doi.org/10.1038/014450a0

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