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05.02.2009 US & Canada

Double Dozen Digit Baby Blessing

By skynews

Doctors in California have been astonished by a baby boy born with 24 perfectly formed and fully functioning fingers and toes.

Kamani Hubbard has six digits on each hand and foot, a condition commonly known as polydactylism.

Doctors at St Luke's Hospital in San Francisco say, because the extra fingers and toes are so well formed, they do not consider it a deformity or disability.

Maternity staff and the radiographer did not detect the baby's extra digits, so it came as quite a surprise to Kamani's father.

Kris Hubbard said "I was in amazement. It took a little while for me to take it all in.

"My son has six fingers, then I saw his toes and I thought 'This is quite unique'."

Polydactylism affects around 1 in 500 babies.
The extra digits are usually small pieces of soft tissue. They occasionally contain bone without joints and are rarely complete, functioning digits.

Famous polydactyls include: actress Gemma Arterton; West Indian cricketer Gary Sobers; Blues guitarist Hound Dog Taylor; and Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII.

Dr Michael Treece, a paediatrician at St Luke's Hospital, said: "It's merely an interesting and beautiful variation rather than a worrisome thing.

"Imagine what sort of pianist a 12-fingered person would be. Imagine what sort of flamenco guitarist. If else, think of their typing skills."

The parents have not decided whether to have the extra fingers and toes removed, but doctors say the baby should keep them.