George Stimpson

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Is there a tribe of people with tails?

After the Spanish-American War a report from the Philippines said that a United States Army exploring party had discovered in the Luzon jungles an 190rot tribe with tails and that the government, had taken charge of the tailed tribe to keep it isolated in the mount. tains until it should die out. Later what purported to be a photograph of a member of the tailed tribe was published. Postcards bearing the picture were sold in the Philippines and every year for many years thousands of them were carried to different parts of the world by credulous tourists, thus keeping alive the fable of the tailed people of Luzon. Notwithstanding that many veterans of the Philippine I surrection and travelers were willing to swear under oath that they had seen members of the tailed tribe, scientists who have investigate the subject are unanimous in asserting that the tailed tribe is a my, Similar reports have been published about tailed races in Africa, China, Borneo, New Guinea and other parts of the Malay Archipelago. Such reports probably originate either in fraud or in careless Observation of the costumes worn by some primitive peoples. Many Of the 190rot head-hunters of Luzon wore fantastic costumes with tails. That the photograph of the tailed man of Luzon was a fake was proved beyond doubt. The United States National Museum, which obtained "photographs of the same man both with and without a tail," asserted that the report of "a tailed tribe in the Philippine Islands is a hoax which we have exposed." Stories of tailed people were common in ancient times and in the Middle Ages. Of "Lambri" on an island off southeastern Asia, Marco Polo wrote: "In this kingdom are found men with tails, a span in length, like those of the dog, but not covered with hair. The greater number of them are formed in this manner, but they dwell in the mountains, and do not inhabit towns." Although the tailed race is undoubtedly a myth, it is quite possible that there are individual persons with tails in Malaysia as well as elsewhere. Embryologists tell us that every normal human being has a tail during the embryo stage of his existence. According [page 85] to Adolph H. Schultz, research investigator for the Carnegie Institution of Washington, the tail is generally about one-sixth as as the embryo itself. There are evidences of this rudimentary tail in the body of every adult. As a rule it becomes completely over­grown by neighboring parts as the child develops and it finally dis­appears from the surface. Occasionally, however, it does not completely disappear before birth and a child is born with an external tail. "These so-called soft tails," wrote Dr. Schultz in the Scientific Monthly for August, 1925, "contain no vertebrae, but blood vessels, muscles and nerves, and are of the same consistency as the short tail of the Barbary ape." Many authentic cases of children born with such tails have been reported. A baby born in 1928 at Knoxville, Tennessee, had a tail seven inches long, and several years earlier a boy was discovered in Baltimore with an external tail nearly nine inches in length. The longest human tail of which there is authentic record was a nine-inch tail on a twelve-year-old boy in Indo-China.