Polydactyly Cuban Man With 24 Digits Says They Are a "Blessing"

A man in Cuba has called his twelve fingers and twelve toes a “blessing.”

Nick-named “24,” Yoandri Hernandez says his supernumerary digits have set him apart, and even boosted his abilities and improved his life.

“I think it’s what God commanded,” Hernandez said of his condition.

The Associated Press reported that the 37-year-old man has six fingers on each hand, and 6 toes on each foot, which is a relatively common condition called polydactyly. Also known as hyperdactyly, the condition is a congenital physical anomaly that affects humans, dogs, and cats.

The extra digit is normally a small piece of soft tissue that can be removed, and only rarely is a complete and functioning digit. The condition occurs in about 1 in every 500 live births.

Each toe and finger Hernandez has is perfectly formed and complete, where many cases of additional digits are misshapen or half-formed.

Hernandez said that he has received up to $10 in payment by tourists for posing in pictures with them, and that the extra fingers and toes aid him in climbing palm trees for coconuts. In Cuba, he is able to live off of $20 a month.

“It’s thanks to my 24 digits that I’m able to make a living, because I have no fixed job,” said Hernandez.

At a glance, Hernandez’s condition is not instantly noticeable. It takes careful counting of the additional digits to note what sets him apart, and Hernandez told AP that he has never been treated differently for his condition.

“Since I was young, I understood that it was a privilege to have 24 digits. Nobody has ever discriminated against me for that,” he said. “On the contrary, people admire me and I am very proud. I have a million friends, I live well.”

Hernandez has a ten-year-old son, and currently is expecting a second child with another partner.

To others affected by polydactyly, Hernandez hopes to be a positive influence. Children with the condition “shouldn’t feel bad about anything, because I think it’s one of the greatest blessings and they’ll be happy in life,” said Hernandez.

A boy in India was reported to have seven fingers on each hand and ten toes on each foot, holding the record for the highest number of digits in the world with a total of 34.