The Huffington Post David Moye First Posted: 08/03/13 EDT Updated: 08/05/13 EDT
The human tail is front and center this week, thanks to Ke$ha and a 12-year-old boy worshipped as a living God in India.
"I had a tail when I was born. It was a tiny tail, about a quarter of an inch, then they chopped it off and stole my tail," she told Heat. "That was when I was little. I'm really sad about that story."
Ke$ha's alleged tale has been lost to history (and to the hospital waste bin), but a 12-year-old boy in Chandigarh, India, has what looks like a 7-inch tail sticking out of his back.
Arshid Ali Khan is worshipped as the living incarnation of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, and has faithful followers who refer to him as "Balaji," Nairaland.com reported.
Doctors have a different, less spiritual, theory: The appendage is actually meningocele, a rare form of spina bifida that causes the spine to grow abnormally.
As a result, Khan is worshipped as the living incarnation of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, and has faithful followers who refer to him as "Balaji," Nairaland.com reported.
Although medical experts believe Khan should have the "tail" removed because he risks further medical problems, he is philosophically opposed to it.
"I love my tail. It's a gift from God. It's unusual, but people respect me and bow before me because of it," he said, according to the Sun. "I feel special."
Dr. Scott Meyer, a member of the neuro-spine team at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey, said meningocele can be associated with a tuft of hair in the lower back.
"The combination of a membranous sac with a tuft of hair could certainly produce a likeness to a monkey's tail," he told The Huffington Post.
He recommends people who have meningocele have surgery to put the "tail" back into the body because of an increased risk of infection. Meyer added that the condition has been reduced by 50 percent in North America thanks to programs that "support folic acid supplementation during pregnancy."
About 40 cases of human tails have been reported according to a study by the People's Journal of Scientifc Research, but you don't necessarily need the condition to have one.