Polydactyls

The BBC, covering the issues that matter, over here.

(The Virtual Stoa’s favourite polydactyl lives in Marin County, California; but I don’t think Alison Thomas is interested in him, owing to her less than fully cosmopolitan attitude, when it comes to cats.)

0 thoughts on “Polydactyls”

  1. There is strong anecdotal evidence that feline polydactyls are closely geographically clustered. I am sure that population geneticists could explain this but I believe it’s probably due to what’s called the ‘founder’s effect.’ Anyway, when I worked as a volunteer in a rescue centre in Ithaca, New York, we were always astonished by the number of cat toes we had to deal with — at times it seemed one out of ten cats had extra digits, and we often heard that this was a common observation in the area between Ithaca and Syracuse. Some multiply digitally enabled Genghis Khat, no doubt. Things got truly strange when we receiived a polydactyl cat with seven toes and with a FORKED TAIL, which frankly was no longer cute. Though someone did eventually adopt the little blighter.

  2. We had a 24 toed cat which was extraordinarily good at catching bluebottles, because the extra spread of her back paws enabled her to balance on two legs, while her front paws served as very efficient fly swats. We did wonder whether, over time, this ability would have provided her descendents with some Darwinian advantage over mere 18 toed mortals. But unfortunately, we had already taken steps which precluded testing this hypothesis.

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