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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chinese circus performer with craniosynostosis, 1927
A deformed sucker cluster on an arm of an octopus

A deformity, dysmorphism, or dysmorphic feature is a major abnormality of an organism that makes a part of the body appear or function differently than how it is supposed to.


Deformity can be caused by a variety of factors:

Deformity can occur in all organisms:


Case of acephalus holoacardiacus – born without a head. Was birthed alongside a healthy twin.[3]

In many cases where a major deformity is present at birth, it is the result of an underlying condition severe enough that the baby does not survive very long. The mortality of severely deformed births may be due to a range of complications including missing or non-functioning vital organs, structural defects that prevent necessary function, high susceptibility to injuries, abnormal facial appearance, or infections that eventually lead to death.

In some cases, such as that of twins, one fetus is brought to term healthy, while the other faces major, even life-threatening defects. An example of this is seen in cattle, referred to as amorphous globosus.

In mythology[edit]

There are many instances of mythological characters showing signs of a deformity.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lockhart JA (November 1967). "Physical nature of irreversible deformation of plant cells". Plant Physiology. 42 (11): 1545–1552. doi:10.1104/pp.42.11.1545. PMC 1086764. PMID 16656691.
  2. ^ "Body Deformities". Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP). Alberta Environment and Parks Environmental Monitoring and Science Division. Retrieved 2022-03-19.
  3. ^ Boulgakow B (1926). ""Arrest of Development of an Embryo. A Case of Acephalus Holoacardiacus showing Arrest of Development of all Tissues in Embryonic Period."". Journal of Anatomy. 61 (Pt 1): 68–93. PMC 1249928. PMID 17104128.
  4. ^ Bazopoulou-Kyrkanidou E (1997-10-17). "What makes Hephaestus lame?". American Journal of Medical Genetics. 72 (2): 144–155. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1096-8628(19971017)72:2<144::AID-AJMG5>3.0.CO;2-V. PMID 9382134.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hogan CM (2010). "Mutation". In Monosson E, Cleveland CJ (eds.). Encyclopedia of Earth. Washington DC: National Council for Science and the Environment. Archived from the original on 2011-04-30.