101 year old Chinese woman grows horns on her forehead

  • Thread starter Kutt
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  • #1
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  • #2
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How is this genetically/biologically possible? Human beings are not supposed to have horns, not even going back all of the of evolutionary stages before the homo sapien.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1256398/Chinese-grandmother-grows-devil-horns.html
Cutaneous horn:

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sugexp=les;pchsnhc&gs_mss=horn+wart&tok=gxCPb2JmGeudliWwFj9vkg&pq=horn+wart&cp=11&gs_id=3e&xhr=t&q=cutaneous+horn&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bpcl=38093640&biw=1600&bih=799&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=Ql2gUJOUOaT10gH7x4D4DA

They have another example of a "horn lady" in the Mutter museum in Philly.
 
  • #3
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  • #4
Borek
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I would not treat Dailymail as an accurate and reliable source.
 
  • #5
bobze
Science Advisor
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They are real, they are called cutaneous horns. Think of it as a finger nail growing somewhere a fingernail ought to not grow. I've actually got to see a patient with this before. Kinda gross!

Edit: See someone beat me too it above!
 
  • #6
732
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Interesting...

So this is a known phenomena?
Most of these "horns" are similar to rhinoceros horns. It is something that grows out of the skin, not from bone. I suppose that the horns of the rhinoceros may have started with a mutation like this.
Evolution starts with random mutations. The results of the mutations accumulate due to natural selection. In order to accumulate, the probability of each mutation has to be finite. The probability of such mutations have to be small, but they can't be zero.
This is a saltation, so it gets selected out under the usual environmental conditions. However, there could be an quasistable circumstance where such mutations are an advantage.
 

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