Ectrodactylyl or Split Hand-Split Foot Malformation (SHFM) is one of the EEC (Ectrodactylyl, Ectodermal Dysplasia, Cleft) syndromes of genetic disorders. Ectrodactylyl, also known as split hand-split foot syndrome, is expressed by a central cleft in the hands and/or feet in the place of the middle digit. Remaining digits may be missing or fused together. This creates a claw-like appentage which led to disorder's previous name, Lobster Claw Syndrome, which has fallen out of favor in recent years.
Although Ectrodactylyl can occur as a spontaneous mutation in utero, it is often an inherited trait. Children of those affected with the syndrome have a 50% chance of having it. The most evident example of how ectrodactyly can run if families is evident in the family of Grady Stiles Jr., better known by his stage name The Lobster Boy.
Grady Stiles Jr. was born into the 4th generation of a long line of family members afflicted with ectrodactyly, which is now 7 generations deep. Known as a violent alcoholic Stiles was convicted of 3rd degree murder for killing his daughter's fiance on the day before their wedding. He never served a day for the murder but instead received 15 years probation. It was determined that was not equipped to care for his special needs and locking him up would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
However, Grady Stiles didn't get away with murder for long. After drying up for some time after the trial, he remarried his first wife. Eventually he would return to his alcoholic, abusive ways. Fearing for their lives, his wife and step-son conspired to have him murdered, paying a neighbor $1500 to kill him. All three of them were convicted.
The Stiles Family Geneology
- William Stiles 1805-1888
- Jacob Stiles 1843-1932
- Elisha Stiles 1880-1935
- Grady Stiles Sr. 1912-1988
- Grady Stiles Jr. 1937-1992
- Grady Stiles III and Cathy Stiles
Other Notable Entertainers (Real or fictional) With Ectrodactyly
Disability-rights activist and former California News Anchor, Bree Walker has ectrodactyly. She also has two children that have ectrodactyly.
There is a Lobster Boy character featured on American Horror Story 4 - Freak Show. The character, named Jimmy Darling and is portrayed by the actor Evan Peters.
Danny Devito's Penguin on Batman Forever had ectrodactyly...and other issues
And maybe the most extreme depiction of ectrodactyly in film was in the movie Total Recall. Who can forget the Taxi driving, Mars resident, Benny. He had "five kids to feed"! Or did he?