The "ostrich-footed" Vadoma of Zimbabwe

Joshua Foer is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Joshua is a freelance science journalist and the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica, with Dylan Thuras.


A user named Sam E. just added the "ostrich-footed" Vadoma tribe of Zimbabwe to to the Atlas Obscura. Due to a single autosomal dominant mutation on chromosome seven, a significant portion of the population is ectrodactylous, or two-toed:

Derogatorily referred to as the "ostrich people," the Vadoma of western Zimbabwe suffer from a rare genetic condition called ectrodactyly, which affects one in four children within the population. Ectrodactyly, or "lobster claw syndrome," can effect either the hands and feet. In the case of the Vadoma, the middle three toes are absent and the two outer ones are turned inward… Some have theorized that the mutation may have adaptive benefit if it aids in tree climbing. However, it's more likely that the defect remains prevalent because of rampant inbreeding. It is against tribal law for members to marry outside the group.

My cursory Google Scholar search only turned up a single 24-year-old journal article [pdf] on the Vadoma (sometimes spelled Wadoma). Anyone know anything else about them?