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Supernumerary body part

  Supernumerary body parts are most commonly a congenital disorder involving the growth of an additional part of the body and a deviation from the body plan. Body parts may be easily visible or hidden away, such as internal organs.

Many additional body parts form by the same process as conjoined twins: the zygote begins to split but fails to completely separate. This condition may also be a symptom of repeated occurrences of continuous inbreeding in a genetic line.

Additional recommended knowledge


Specific types of occurrence

Specific types of additional body parts include:

Related conditions and concepts

Vestigial structures are anatomical structures of organisms in a species which are considered to have lost much or all of their original function through evolution. These body parts can be classed as additional to the required functioning of the body. In human anatomy the vermiform appendix is sometimes classed as a vestigial remnant.

Prosthesis is an artificial extension that replaces a body part, and cybernetics is the study of computer technology in relation to organisms which can include replacement or additional body parts.

Body integrity identity disorder (BIID) is a psychiatric disorder in which a person thinks that they have one or more additional limbs than they should, despite having two arms and two legs. People with this condition often wish to amputate what they see as additional body parts.

A phantom limb is the sensation that a missing limb is still attached to the body.

A chimera is an animal or plant that has two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated in different zygotes that have merged; anatomical structures are typically mixed depending on which cells are prevalent in different body parts, for example plants can have two different types of flowers.

A mosaic is a genetic anomaly similar in nature and effects to a chimera: genetically different populations of cells within one organism, originated from some propagated mutation of a single cell rather than from outside sources.

Popular culture

Additional body parts can be used to represent monsters, mutants and aliens. In many cases these additional body parts may be normal for the species but are only viewed as additional when compared to humans.


In Hindu mythology additional limbs and heads are considered a sign of power.

In Greek mythology, Artemis, the goddess of fertility, was sometimes represented as having numerous breasts. This was particularly notable in the cult of Artemis (Diana) celebrated in the ancient city of Ephesus, in modern Turkey.

See also

  • Triple deities
  • Polydactyl cat
  • Unusually-shaped vegetable


  1. ^ a b Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man. "Nipples, Supernumerary". Accessed 10 July 2006.
  2. ^ PatientPlus. "Cervical ribs and thoracic outlet syndrome". Accessed 10 July 2006.
  3. ^ Grumbach, M.M., Conte, F.A., 1998. "Disorders of sex differentiation." in Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, eds. J.D. Wilson, D.W. Foster, H.M. Kronenberg, and P.R. Larsen, (Philadelphia: W B Saunders:1303-1425).
  4. ^ Molnar, Sebastian, 17 February, 2004. Plant Reproductive Systems. Accessed 10 July 2006.
  5. ^ Derm Atlas. "Image of hyperdontia. Accessed 10 July 2006.
  6. ^ a b Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center A-Z. Polydactyly and Syndactyly. Accessed 10 July 2006.
  7. ^ Wipro GE Healthcare. "Polyorchidism". Accessed 10 July 2006.
  8. ^ "Supernumerary kidney". Accessed 10 July 2006.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Supernumerary_body_part". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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