Health Care

Rare Conjoined Fawns Have Scientists Doing A Double Take

Rare Conjoined Fawns Have Scientists Doing A Double Take”

While the birth of a pair of conjoined twins is exceptionally rare, it's even more remarkable that a someone found the carcass during a mushroom hunt in southeastern Minnesota.

The discovery was made by a mushroom hunter in May 2016 near the town of Freeburg, Minnesota. According to study co-author Gino D'Angelo, a researcher at the University of Georgia, lab tests including a CT scan and MRI, revealed the fawns had two separate head-neck regions which re-joined along the spine.

In utero, stated Gino D'Angelo, researcher in the University of Georgia from the U.S. who analyzed the bull. 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. The specimen has been stillborn, apparently, and was described as "amazing" and "extremely rare" by the scientists. The tiny carcass was found clean and dry and was sent to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, where it was kept frozen for later research.

They're the first known set of conjoined white-tailed deer twins brought to full term - other examples of conjoined twins have only been observed in utero. "Of the tens of millions of fawns born annually in the USA, there are probably abnormalities happening in the wild we don't even know about", D'Angelo said in a press statement. The fawns had normal fur, heads and legs, but internally had a shared liver, extra spleens and gastrointestinal tracts.

For the first time, conjoined twins have been found in deer in the world. After examining the corpse of an animal, the researchers found that it was a DOE white-tailed deer.

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. However, they had been discovered dressed and at a natural place, suggesting the doe attempted to take care of them following delivery. "The maternal instinct is very strong", D'Angelo added.

When the animals' lungs were placed in water, they sank straight to the bottom ― confirming that the fawns never breathed air and were stillborn.

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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