- A two-headed white-tailed fawn found two years ago in a Minnesota forest is cementing its place as a landmark case among the oddities found in nature.
The fawn - or, more accurately fawns - are conjoined twins.
Since the only other examples of conjoined fawns have been found in utero, these stillborn twins are a scientific marvel. There have only been two other cases of conjoined twins in white-tailed deer, neither made it through the full pregnancy. "It is amazing and incredibly rare".
Seeing such a weird appearance, the man thought there might be something interesting behind this discovery and delivered the two-headed deer fawn to the Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources.
When researchers at the University of Minnesota's veterinary diagnostic laboratory conducted a necropsy and MRI and CT scans of the body, they discovered the female fawns had one body but two separate necks and two heads.
"We can't even estimate the rarity of this". Gino D'Angelo, assistant professor of deer ecology and management at the University of Georgia, led the study of the specimen and published the results in the journal The American Midland Naturalist.
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Cornicelli, who is a wildlife researcher for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), told Fox News: "It's never been described before".
The twins had normal heads, fur and legs, as well as "almost perfect" spots running up their necks.
"Their anatomy indicates the fawns would never have been viable", Gino D'Angelo said "Yet, they were found groomed and in a natural position, suggesting that the doe tried to care for them after delivery".
They had two hearts, which shared a pericardial sac - the outer layer of a heart.
Conjoined twins seems to be more common in domesticated animals like sheep and cats, but the exact causes of the phenomenon are not fully understood. "The maternal instinct is very strong", D'Angelo added.
Besides, the fawn's lungs were clean as if the creature would've never breathed air, this being the fact which let researchers conclude the creature has been stillborn. Conjoined deer have been found previously but haven't been delivered. "The taxidermists, Robert Utne and Jessica Brooks, did a great job with the mount and treated it very respectfully".