We were watching The Princess Bride in a class I teach, and I was busy creating an assignment related to the film. I decided to have the students research polydactyls or polydactylism or polydactyly -- having more than ten fingers or toes. High school kids love that kind of stuff, but they also love the trivia associated with learning about the six-fingered folks, like who else has eleven (or even twelve) digits? 

I was surprised, however, to find that the list of extra-digitally-endowed individuals that I'm sure I'd used in the past no longer exists in its former place, at least on Wikipedia. It's as if one day there's an entire community of semi-famous people with an extra finger or toe, and then suddenly they don't exist. Of course, being an English major and a stickler to good research, I understand why the list is gone: it was "almost completely unsourced." 

I could go elsewhere for the information. Someone copied it form Wikipedia, or the Wikipedia article was copied from some other site. However, the point is that if I am counting on Wikipedia as my main, most accurate source, I have a list of zero people who have ever had a disorder that seemingly not as rare as many others. Then, after some looking, I found another list (maybe sourced better) and all is right in the WikiWorld again. 

The most famous person with polydactyly is still Anne Boleyn, but Wikipedia implies it was a rumor from the beginning. Without a dug-up bod.... wait, apparently Anne Boleyn, after being executed, was thrown in an old elm wood arrow burial chest in St. Peter ad Vincula. In addition, her body was found under a paved area three hundred years later, identified, and then reburied without any photos. Here's what the doctor said about her body: "The bones found in the place where Queen Anne is said to have been buried are certainly those of a female in the prime of life, all perfectly consolidated and symmetrical and belong to the same person. The bones of the head indicate a well-formed round skull, with an intellectual forehead, straight orbital ridge, large eyes, oval face, and rather square full chin. The remains of the vertebra and the bones of the lower limbs indicate a well-formed woman of middle height with a short and slender neck. The ribs shew (sic) depth and roundness of chest. The hand and feet bones indicate delicate and well-shaped hands and feet, with tapering fingers and a narrow foot.” Did she have extra tapering fingers or not? Dr. Mouat, the guy who examined the bones, does not say. 

After a lot of searching and more searching, I still can't confirm any more or less about polydactyls that I could before. The confirmed people aren't too interesting to me. Drew Carey is kind of interesting but more irrelevant than he was a decade ago (and also somewhat unproven)... wait, there would be a photo... after searching Google images for "Drew Carey toe," I found no photos of feet, and this strange picture of Snoop Dog: 

 

 

Written by Brian Jaeger, owner of Satisfamily, McNewsy, PassivNinja, Educabana, RealWisconsinNews, ManCrushFanClub, WildWestAllis, SitcomLifeLessons, and VoucherSchool.

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