A Minnesota mushroom hunter hunting for mushrooms stumbled upon an incredible find: two deer calves shared a body.
It is believed that the twin twin children who were born dead were the first to reach full life and were then delivered by their mother. The only other examples of related twin calves have been found in utero, said Gino D & # 39; Angelo, the researcher at the University of Georgia, who studied the roe deer.
"It's amazing and extremely rare," said D & # 39; Angelo. "We can not even estimate the rarity of it ̵
D & Angelo, a professor of deer ecology and management at the UGA School of Forestry and Natural Resources Warner, said that a complete study of the associated double fawns is a unique opportunity for researchers to study such a rare wildlife deformity.
The results of his investigation were recently published in the journal American Midland Naturalist.
The fungal hunter found the calves in May 2016 near Freeburg, Minnesota, on the forest floor about a mile from the Mississippi River. The fawns were clean, dry and seemed to have passed away recently. The hunter named the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, where D & # 39; Angelo was working at the time. The calves were frozen until an autopsy could be done so that the preparation was kept in excellent condition, said D & # 39; Angelo.
The researchers not only performed complete necropsy, but also performed 3-D computed tomography. and magnetic resonance imaging at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory of the University of Minnesota.
They found that the fawns – who did – had two separate necks and heads, but they shared a body. They had normal fur, normal heads and legs and even "almost perfect" patch patterns, said D & # 39; Angelo.
Laboratory tests of the lungs confirmed that the fawns never breathed air and were born dead, and the autopsy found that the liver had a malformed split liver, extra spleen, and gastrointestinal tract, as well as two hearts shared a single pericardium.
"Their anatomy shows that the calves have never been viable," said D & # 39; Angelo. However, they were groomed and found in a natural position, suggesting that the hind is trying to take care of them after giving birth. The mother instinct is very strong.
Connected twins are not unknown in animals or humans, said D & # 39; Angelo, although most do not survive after birth, they are more common in domestic animals – especially cattle and sheep – but less common in wild animals Researchers studied much of the scientific literature and found only 19 confirmed cases of Siamese twins in the fauna between 1671 and 2006, of which only five were found in the deer family.
Only two cases of Siamese twins were found in white-tailed monkeys but both were fetuses that had not yet been delivered.
Healthy double fawns are the rule rather than the exception, D & # 39; Angelo said, because most adult twins give birth.
Why these twins were married is one Secret. "We also do not know about humans," he said, "we think it's an unnatural cell fission during the early emb ryonalentwicklung. "
The associated calves are exhibited at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, while at the University a skeleton display is housed by the Minnesota Veterinary Anatomy Museum.
Fawns survive in agricultural landscapes rather than in the forest
Gino J. D & # 39; Angelo et al. Associated Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), The American Midland Naturalist (2018). DOI: 10.1674 / 0003-0031-179.2.299