Extra body parts occur more often than you might think. Doctors call the extra appendages supernumerary body parts, and they can be found on some famous people in history as well as current celebrities.
Find out more about 13 people who were born with an extra body parts, and who always had a spare hand (or finger or head). See the next page to get started.
Anne Boleyn, second wife to Henry VIII of England, is commonly believed to have had 11 fingers and possibly a third breast. Historians believe that she did have an extra finger or at least some sort of growth on her hand that resembled an extra finger, but it's unlikely that she had an extra breast. This rumor may have been started by her enemies because in Tudor times an extra breast was believed to be the sign of a witch.
Major league baseball pitcher Antonio Alfonseca has six fingers on each hand, but he claims the extra fingers don't affect his pitching because they don't usually touch the ball. In most cases of polydactylism (extra fingers or toes), the extra digit has only limited mobility, or can't be moved at all, and is often surgically removed shortly after birth. The condition is reported in about one child in every 500.
Actor Mark Wahlberg has a third nipple on the left side of his chest. Early in his career, he considered having it removed, but he later came to accept it. Around 2 percent of women and slightly fewer men have a supernumerary nipple, although they are often mistaken for moles. They can be found anywhere between the armpit and groin, and range from a tiny lump (like Wahlberg's) to a small extra breast, sometimes even capable of lactation.
In 2006, a 24-year-old man from India checked himself into a New Delhi hospital and asked doctors to remove his extra penis so that he could marry and lead a normal sex life. To protect his privacy, doctors wouldn't disclose his identity or that of the hospital but did confirm that the operation took place. The condition, known as diphallia or penile duplication, is extremely rare, with only around 100 cases ever documented.
Craniopagus parasiticus is a medical condition in which a baby is born with a parasitic twin head. The extra head doesn't have a functioning brain, which is what differentiates this condition from that of conjoined twins. In effect, the baby is born with the head of its dead twin attached to its body. There have only ever been eight documented cases, and, of these, only three have survived birth. One of these was Rebeca Martinez, born in the Dominican Republic in December 2003, the first baby to undergo an operation to remove the second head. She died on Feb. 7, 2004, after an 11-hour operation.
A similar condition to craniopagus parasiticus is polycephaly, the condition of having more than one functioning head. There are many documented occurrences of this in the animal kingdom, although in most human cases we refer to the condition as conjoined twins. One recent case was that of Syafitri, born in Indonesia in 2006. These conjoined twins were given just one name by their parents who insisted that they were, in fact, one baby girl since they had only one heart and shared a body. It would have been impossible for doctors to separate the conjoined twins, and Syafitri died of unknown causes just two weeks after she was born.
Hermaphroditism -- the condition of being born with both male and female reproductive organs -- is more common than you might think, existing in some degree in around 1 percent of the population. In 1843, when Levi Suydam, a 23-year-old resident of Salisbury, Conn., wanted to vote for the Whig candidate in a local election, the opposition party objected, saying Suydam was really a woman and therefore did not have the right to vote. A doctor examined Suydam and declared that he had a penis and was therefore a man. He voted and the Whig candidate won by a single vote.
In 2006, a boy named Jie-Jie was born in China with two left arms. Although all three of his arms looked normal, neither left arm was fully functional, and, when he was two months old, doctors in Shanghai removed the one closest to his chest after tests revealed it was less developed.
While advances in medical technology mean that Jie-Jie will go on to lead a relatively normal life, Francesco Lentini, who was born in Sicily in 1889, had a life that was anything but. He was born with three legs, two sets of genitals, and an extra foot growing from the knee of his third leg -- the remains of a conjoined twin that had died in the womb. Rejected by his parents, he was raised by an aunt, then in a home for disabled children before moving to America when he was 8. He became "The Great Lentini" and toured with major circus and sideshow acts, including the Ringling Brothers' Circus and Barnum and Bailey. Part of his act included using his third leg to kick a soccer ball across the stage. He married, raised four children, and lived longer than any other three-legged person, dying in Florida in 1966 at age 78.
Josephene Myrtle Corbin, born in 1868, could see Lentini his three legs and raise him one. She was a dipygus, meaning that she had two separate pelvises and four legs. As with Lentini, these were the residual parts of a conjoined twin. She could move all of the legs, but they were too weak to walk on. Like Lentini, she was a great success in sideshows with the stage name "The Four-Legged Girl from Texas." She married a doctor with whom she had five children. Legend has it that three of her children were born from one pelvis, and two from the other.
Born in 1932 to a poor farming family in Georgia, Betty Lou Williams was the youngest of 12 children. Doctors claimed she was a healthy child -- except for the two extra arms and legs emerging from the side of her body. From the age of 2, Williams worked for Ripley's Believe It Or Not and earned quite a living on the sideshow circuit. She put her siblings through college and bought her parents a large farm. She grew up to be a lovely and generous young lady, but when she was jilted by her fiance at age 23, she died from an asthma attack exacerbated by the head of the parasitic twin lodged in her abdomen.
Another sideshow star of the early 20th century was Jean Libbera, "The Man with Two Bodies," who was born in Rome in 1884. Libbera was born with a parasitic conjoined twin attached to his front. Photos of Libbera show a shrunken body, about 18 inches long, emerging from his abdomen with its head apparently embedded inside. He died in 1934, at age 50.
It might seem unusual for a woman to have two uteruses, but the condition known as uterine didelphys occurs in about one in 1,000 women. In fact, Hannah Kersey, her mother and her sister all have two wombs. But Hannah made history in 2006 when she gave birth to triplets -- a set of identical twin girls from one womb and a third, fraternal sister from the other womb. There have been about 70 known pregnancies in separate wombs in the past 100 years, but the case of triplets is the first of its kind and doctors estimate the likelihood is about one in 25 million.
For another interesting list, check out 16 Unusual Facts About the Human Body.
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