Join Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions! Subscribe Today!

The Strange Tale of a Strange Tail

The Mayo Clinic says: “Rhesus (Rh) factor is an inherited protein found on the surface of red blood cells. If your blood has the protein, you’re Rh positive. If your blood lacks the protein, you’re Rh negative.Rh positive is the most common blood type. Having an Rh negative blood type is not an illness and usually does not affect your health. However, it can affect your pregnancy. Your pregnancy needs special care if you’re Rh negative and your baby is Rh positive (Rh incompatibility). A baby can inherit the Rh factor from either parent.” The late conspiracy theorist Jim Marrs stated that “…the tale of human origins linked to extraterrestrials gains even more strength when one considers that many Rh negative children are born with a tail.” I’m not at all sure how Marrs was able to make such a statement. The reason? Well, to the best of my knowledge there has not been a widespread, in-depth study of Rh negative babies – and the matter of tails – that would allow for such a statement to be considered reliable.

That said, however, it is a fact that there really is what I call a strange tale of a strange tail. Esther Inglis-Arkell says on the matter of tail-wielding humans:  “Some hold with the theory that the development of an embryo shows the stages of evolution. In other words, what first develops is fishlike, and then like a small mammal, and then like a lemur or ape, and then something we would recognize as human. Very early embryos have what look like little gill slits in the beginning of their development. At about four weeks, embryos have a little tail. At around six to twelve weeks, the white blood cells dissolve the tail, and the fetus develops into an average, tail-less baby…most of the time, at least.”

It is Inglis-Arkell’s “most of the time” comment we’ll now focus upon. Throughout history there are accounts of babies being born with tails; usually male babies, rather than females, for reasons that remain not completely understood. In some cases, at least, the reason is a wholly down to earth one, such as the “tail” actually being the only visible presence of a parasitic, unborn twin, a tumor (cancerous or benign), or a cyst. When a true tail develops, however, it’s a throwback to our very earliest ancestors and is caused by the baby’s white blood cells failing to absorb, before birth, the relevant tissue of which the tail is comprised. One example of this aspect of the controversy is that of “Balaji,” – real name Arshad Ali – an Indian boy born in 2001, who, at the base of his spine, had nothing less than a ten centimeter-long tail.

It’s notable that in some cases the tails are functional; that’s to say they contain fat, nerves and muscle tissue. The result is that they can be controlled and flicked around. Others hang limply and are completely useless. As for the reason why we see so little evidence of the condition today, it’s very simple: we have the medical expertise to remove the tails at birth. Of relevance to this is the matter of what is called the cauda equina. It translates into English as “the tail of a horse.” It describes a collection of nerves that extend beyond the spinal column. As for the name, it is derived from the fact that the collection of nerve tracts at the base of the spine look very much like the tail of a horse. Cauda equina Syndrome is a serious and distressing condition that results in the nerves of the spinal cord, contained within the spinal canal, becoming compressed. This can lead to a variety of problems, including numbness, both bladder and bowel incontinence, and sciatica. Surgical decompression is generally the most profitable form of treatment, and which is vital in the prevention of permanent incontinence.

To be sure, a strange tale.


Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
You can follow Nick on and