Rare Conjoined Fawns Have Scientists Doing A Double Take
Rare Conjoined Fawns Have Scientists Doing A Double Take
Officials conducted lab tests on the fawns which revealed the two had separate head-neck regions which rejoined along the spine
16 May, 2018, 08:44
A man out hunting mushrooms accidentally discovered one of the strangest recent advancements in natural science after he came across a two-headed fawn.
There have been two other conjoined white-tailed deer fawns cases reported in the past, however neither made it through the full pregnancy, the Daily Mail reported.
A mushroom hunter made the discovery about a mile from the Mississippi River in Freeburg, Minnesota in May 2016.
Researchers said while there have been previous reports of conjoined deer, this was the only one in which the baby reached full term and was born.
"It's wonderful and extremely rare", D'Angelo said in the release.
Conjoined-twin fawns were found in a forest in Minnesota, it is the first known case of a two-headed deer found in the species. Now, a new case study published in the April issue of the journal The American Midland Naturalist explains just how remarkable the conjoined fawns truly are. "Of the tens of millions of fawns born annually in the U.S., there are probably abnormalities happening in the wild we don't even know about", deer ecologist Gino D'Angelo of the University of Georgia said, according to Science Alert.
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. The necropsy of the fawns showed that both shared a malformed liver, had extra spleens and gastrointestinal tracts, along with two hearts that had a single pericardial sac. After examining the corpse of an animal, the researchers found that it was a DOE white-tailed deer.
He added the fawns were "found groomed" suggesting "the doe tried to care for them after delivery". The hunter contacted the Minnesota DNR, and the fawns were frozen until a necropsy could be conducted. "The maternal instinct is very strong".
"Animals that are stillborn, they don't last long on the landscape because of scavengers", Mr Cornicelli said.
D'Angelo said conjoined twins are relatively commonly in domestic animals, however they are extremely rare in other wildlife.
After the study wrapped up, the twins were preserved by Robert Utne and taxidermist Jessica Brooks to create a realistic display.
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