Growing a human tail?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Athelwulf, May 3, 2006.


Would you grow a tail if you could have one?

  1. Yes, tails are awesome.

    32 vote(s)
  2. No, I'm quite happy being tail-less.

    31 vote(s)
  1. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

    Last night – don't ask why – I contemplated my tail, or rather the lack thereof. "Why did evolution have to take away my tail?!" I thought to myself. And then I had an idea. I post this thread here for you today to figure out the plausibility of my plan.

    My idea is superficially simple: I want to grow a tail within my lifetime. I don't mean grow it in a petri dish and surgically attatch it; I mean grow it right on my ass. I know that this would require a scientific feat which I'm not sure we're capable of yet. I like to think, however, that we're advancing fast enough so that we will be capable of it within my lifetime.

    I would like to know what growing a tail would medically require. I would also like to know if my idea is just wishful thinking.

    So, let's discuss.
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  3. Communist Hamster Cricetulus griseus leninus Valued Senior Member

    If I had a tail, I wouldn't want it to be all hairless and pink, like a pigs tail. 'Twould be better furred, like a cats tail... or a monkeys tail (which would be rather cool, being able to grab stuff with it).

    Although perhaps an extra arm would be better for the latter point. Custom-tailored clothes would be necessary for both though.
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  5. Hercules Rockefeller voltage gated ion channel Moderator

    Appendages are grown during embryonic development. By the time a mammal has been born the massively complex genetic, biochemical and cellular machinery necessary for making limbs have long since shut down. An adult is very different to a developing embryo and I see no way to achieve the growing of tails as you envisage it. Of course, there are vertebrate organisms (but no mammals) that can re-grow severed limbs/tails. But the re-growth of existing limbs is different to the de novo growth of new appendages in an adult, especially when it isn’t even supposed to be there in the first place (such as tails on humans).
  6. Roman Banned Banned

    I'd want a tail that was like a third arm. Perhaps like a furry snake sprouting from my rear that I could crush heads with. With a venomous tip, and lasers that shoot from my eyes.

    And functional wings.

    Hercules, do you think you could make my dreams come true? :)
  7. Hercules Rockefeller voltage gated ion channel Moderator

    Working on it..... ;)
  8. Roman Banned Banned

    Yaaay! I'm going to be the best superhero ever!
  9. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

    Oh... Well that sucks then. I guess the only way to get a tail is to get it grown in a petri dish after all?

    I had the idea that special and appropriate growth hormones could be injected or activated, or that whatever genes we have that concern tail growth and length but are inactive could be activated so that the corresponding phenotype would emerge. It made sense in my head, but I guess that shows how much I know about human development, eh?

    I'm fairly sure mine wouldn't be hairless, if the hair therearound is any indication. And a prehensile tail would be awesome, but I would settle for a plain tail that was about 15 to 22 cm long and that I could wag.

    I'd just cut a hole in my pants and underwear, or tuck it between my legs, or something.
  10. valich Registered Senior Member

  11. JetPilot Registered Senior Member

    I'm pretty sure a tail would be pretty annoing. Especially with the looks of that one, that means you can't lie on your back, which in a way, could be a severe disadvantage in the wild, not being able to rest comfortably in a cave already full of rocks and stones... But then again, those are just my assumptions, we will never truly know why the tail went away... Though it would be quite cool to have one, at times.= )
  12. valich Registered Senior Member

    Sure we do. Hominids evolved to be upright on two legs - not four. After that, what use was there for a tail? To swat flies with? As you say, look how uncomfortable a tail would be to lie on your back. We would have to lie on our sides or on our stomach. The tail was genetically lost through evolution because it no longer had any function.
  13. Dravyga ... Registered Senior Member

    I want a tail, like the monkeys, so I can do some cool tricks with it. lol
  14. valich Registered Senior Member

    Quite uncomfortable sitting down in a chair, no?
  15. lionreich Registered Member

    the thought is not dead yet

    Do not give up so easily. I have a very remedial understanding of DNA in general, and this may just be wishful thinking, but I think the answer dwells in DNA. The only way I can think to modify the DNA effectively would be to modify a virus to implant Animal DNA repair enzymes as well as its own DNA.
    Of course the virus would have to allow the cell and itself be regarded as self by the body otherwise the changes you make would be attacked. i.e.- not good. Also it would have to be the kind of virus that did not lyse the cell membrane upon reproduction. Should this work (incredibly unlikely) to the point that one could grow a tail, the changes in a person as a whole would be very severe. Even though this thought may not work in and of itself. Ideas within it may hold future prospects for experimentation.
  16. lionreich Registered Member

    I too have always wanted a tail.
  17. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    I think this is a very stupid idea, but some years ago one doctor told me of an experimental medicine with hormones gone horribly wrong.

    It was during the USSR days in Latvia and I don't remember what they were supposed to cure, but the illness of the girl was very rare. Any way for some reason she was injected bull or cow hormones, the result - the girl physically degraded and started growing a tail.

    The doctor was working at a rehabilitation centre where the girl was taken after that experiment.
  18. drkfire1 Registered Member

    i can't argue that growing a tail is possible. but there are problems with this theory.
    the first is human rights: willing or not they cannot run a test on a human until they are sure it will work which would mean 10-20 years at best.
    next would definately be cost. assuming you are not given the choice to volunteer for experiments you would be forced to pay for treatment. there are also several methods they could use to create said tail, but as for actually growing one hormone treatment would be about the only way. others would include fun surgery to move your lower spine followed by treatments to lengthen it, sewing a premade tail on. these are probably the simplest forms known currently aside from DNA manipulation, but seeing as they have not fully mapped all of human DNA this procedure would be incredibly dangerous and unlikely seeing as you would have to change the DNA either before birth or extremely early in childhood to get a proper tail, otherwise you'd end up with a nub. Yet despite all this... i still want a tail.
  19. drkfire1 Registered Member

    good question by the way.
  20. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    Can you imagine trying to go the bathroom with a tail? I would forever be dropping it in the toilet.
  21. ElectricFetus I'm just going for a walk... Valued Senior Member

    What would I need a tail for? Here are things on my wish list
    1. Retractable Claws: that would be soooo cool I could fuck someone face up real face and still get past a metal detector.

    2. Multiple hearts: why have one when you can have arrays with backups?

    3. Unidirectional air sac lungs: because I always wanted to climb mount everest without running out of breath.

    4. Cellulose digesting GI track: So no one would starve.

    5. Self supporting metabolism and synthesis: So no one needs vitamins, no malnutrition.

    6. Hyperspectral vision: Why see the world in 3 bland colors when you could see the world in 4,6, etc.

    7. I could go on?
  22. Bradley364 DIG HARD! Registered Senior Member

    Commies -shakes fist-

    ....thats freakin creepy.

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