Vadoma: The Zimbabwean Ostrich People With Only Two Toes
The Vadoma people, also known as the Bantwana tribe, whose name means “children” or “descendants,” are a group that resides predominantly in the Urungwe and Sipolilo districts in the Zambezi river basin.
Many individuals in their community cannot wear shoes owing to the shape of their feet. They have only two great toes on each foot.
They lack middle toes and their two outside toes are twisted inward. Due to their physique, they can still walk with some difficulty, and running is also difficult for them. Nonetheless, this condition reportedly aids them in tree climbing. Elders of the Vadoma assert that their distant ancestors were bird-like entities from outer space who mated with early women on Earth to produce kids.
According to the elders, their ancient ancestors originated from the Sirius star systems and originally established colonies on a planet in our solar system that they call Liitolafisi.
A significant portion of vaDoma suffer from ectrodactyly, in which the middle three toes are removed and the two outer toes are bent inward, giving the tribe the nickname “two-toed” or “ostrich-footed.” This is an autosomal dominant disease caused by a single mutation on the seventh chromosome.
Those with the illness are reportedly not disabled and well-integrated into the tribe. Although the trait may be advantageous for tree climbing, it persists due to a tiny genetic pool among the vaDoma and is perpetuated by a tribal law that prohibits members from marrying outside the clan.
Due to their seclusion, the vaDoma tribe has developed and maintained ectrodactyly, and their relatively limited gene pool has made the trait significantly more prevalent than elsewhere. Several members of the Eastern Shona Kalanga of the Kalahari Desert have ectrodactyly and may be linked.